The focus at teacher training recently has been our approach to beginners. Teaching beginners the basics of yoga and how to break down the poses so they are easily understood, to be exact. It takes a shift in how we use language and even how we structure the class. Many teachers will say that it is the most challenging part of teaching yoga - but also can be the most rewarding.
So many things have aligned for me around this theme. On Wednesday I practiced with one of my favorite teachers who centered her class theme around becoming child like in our experience of the world and daily life. She shared a prayer that asks God for help to get into this state of unencumbered readiness to receive. The class was challenging, not only because of the dynamic and well sequenced flow she created but also because of this concept of being aware of not knowing how to do something and the freedom that provides. It was beautiful.
That same night I observed a basics class at my local studio, which is part of our curriculum requirements for the training program - and was once again in a position to deeply appreciate the skill of the teachers to which I'm fortunate to have access. The teacher was supportive, clear and loving in her instruction - never once positioning herself above the students, many of whom were clearly beginners with minimal understanding about yoga. It was beautiful.
Thursday morning - as is my custom - I listened to "Morning Edition" on NPR. My mom reads the entire newspaper everyday - I listen to the news (apple, tree anyone?). During the course of the broadcast, they interviewed the US mathematician, a woman, who has become the first woman to win the Abel Prize for her work in the field.
Her achievements prior to this latest honor are impressive to say the least - but it was her statement in the interview "I find I'm bored by anything I understand" that struck me.
It invokes a sense of wonder and excitement about the prospect of gaining new understanding. If you read the whole article, she has so many wonderful perspectives to share on being a role model, owning her humanity, and her knack for applying concepts she's learned in one discipline to solve problems in another. She credits that with being addicted to intellectual excitement.
I have often said I'm addicted to yoga. I mean, here I am - gaining a deeper understanding of yoga and striving to be able to teach it others who may not understand. The whole process so far has been extremely engaging and far from boring. My progression in certain asanas provides a physical manifestation of my growing understanding. Top to bottom, 2014 through 2017.
As I gain understanding, I find new areas about which to question and be curious. Even the notion to pursue teacher training stemmed from a desire to learn more. Each thing I learn prompts me to seek out more information. So am I addicted to yoga or the pursuit of more information about yoga?
Here's to making efforts to continually have "an addiction to intellectual excitement".