newest entry 2002-05-30 8:39 a.m.

When you make your mind one-pointed through regular practice of meditation, you will find the supreme glory of the Lord.

--Bhagavad Gita 8:8

Couldn't be simpler, could it?

I received a memo from the manager of IYI to all Hatha I teachers, reminding us not to go overboard on the optional poses and the verbal instructions in class. (And for God's sake, don't mention chakras!) We are to adhere to the basic format of the class, using the verbal instructions ("the speech") that we were taught in teacher training.

What precipitated this memo were some negative teacher evaluations where students complained that the class they took wasn't what they had come to expect.

I completely agree that Integral is a special kind of class, and teachers should stick to the format. I always do, even when I'm teaching elsewhere.

I'm totally down with not babbling about chakras and other esoterica. Completely unnecessary.

However, the stuff about "stick to the speech we taught you" is unreasonable. A bunch of teachers all using the exact same words and instructions makes for an extremely dull and unchallenging experience for both the students and the teachers.

I find that when I instruct the class from a very present place, I am inspired with variations and different approaches to the postures. No one has ever complained--I have students who come back week after week, and make a point to thank me after class. So clearly they appreciate the approach.

Further, I believe that my most useful classes (i.e. the ones where people respond in a palpably positive way) are generally ones where I've applied what I've learned from other teaching sources. To be honest, I didn't learn all that much about allignment, anatomy, flow, about the deeper structure and meaning of the asanas, from my teacher training at IYI. I learned about asana from reading about it and taking classes at other centers. God help the teacher who is only getting her information from the teacher training manual--cuz it's not very thorough!

Plus, all the teachers at IYI are volunteers. We do it because we love the center. I don't think it's wise to expect us to teach a rote class week after week, parroting the same words over and over, and maintain any kind of enthusiasm.

That said, I still think that Integral is the best yoga center in the city, especially for new beginners. I just think they need to trust that not all change is a threat to the sanctity of the enterprise.

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