Nature vs. nurture…

Dear Oprah,
FYI, you did not coin the term Ah-hah moment. Just sayin'.
I practice several times weekly with this tremendous teacher in Santa Monica. I love him. The first time I went to his class I said to him, 'Where have you been all my life.' He is that great.
However...
When I was in his class this past week he made some jokes and scolded me on not being able to get into a pose, a certain arm balance. Har-umph!
I thought to myself, just weeks ago, I could only dream of getting here. I am working on this pose and here I am, holding it.
Yea me...
but then he pipes in...no. no, yea you.
Ok, It's not perfect, but it's close, so shut it.
And then I thought, hmmmm, I like everyone, am so often being looked at by many with an eye that says this is how to do it better. This is not enough. It is so rare that we ever, if I ever get a, you are doing a great job, keep it up.

I started going through the filofax of my memory thinking of all of the things I've worked hard for and it's always been...hard.
It's hard enough for me to accomplish things without being hard on myself, to have more people weighing heavily on me, feels, well, fucking heavy.

Where did the encouragement go?

Where did nurturing go?

I'm a middle child so both of those things were sparse for me.

But, as a teacher, I feel it's important to encourage a student for where they are at and the potential for where they are to go next...in their own time.

I think yoga and life has come to a point where we are always looking beyond where we are to the place where we should be.
What about where we are?

Especially in yoga, where it is all about being in the present moment.

Sometimes, in the present moment, I am a beginner. I am in my first yoga class. I am stressed out and can't hold a pose without getting frustrated or confused. The last thing I need is for someone else to point that out.

I need to be told it's ok.

It's ok to be where I'm at right now.

We all could be better, faster, stronger, prettier, skinnier.

We all could be.

But sometimes, we are not where we want to be. We are at where we are at. We are not perfect. And that is...ok.

Sometimes, we are in our yoga practice to work out things that are going on in our bodies and our minds.

That is why I am not a big fan of 'partnering' up in a yoga practice. I don't really like to be taken out of my own practice to start thinking about someone else. Not like it's not a great learning experience, but mostly, I like practicing yoga so that I can work on being better, at my own pace.

I don't slack, ever. And if a teacher gives me a hard time, it's a pure reminder that that teacher doesn't know a thing about me.

And it makes me sad. Because as a teacher, I don't know a lot of people and I don't know a lot of people, but I know that before I go into a room full of students, I must honor them first, where they are in their moments, where they have just come from and bring to them where I am coming from, that's all.

I can teach what I can teach and they will take what I can give them, but I cannot force them to do anything they are not ready for, whether I think they are ready or not.

If I see a student I know well that is slacking, I would never think they are slacking. I would think they are working through something. It's not my job to tell them otherwise.

It's my job to lead them through a practice as firmly and as gently as I can so that they can experience what THEY need, not what I need.

We, as a people, as a community, are under so much pressure. We have no idea what each others trials are daily.

What I can do as a teacher and as a person is help alleviate the mess surrounding the clarity behind the pressure so that we can live as happily and pressure free as possible. It is not easy. And I do not take the burden all myself.

But I am responsible for helping. That is all. And that is all I expect from my teachers. I do not want to be bullied or burdened into being better than what I can possibly do in that moment. I am doing all I can. I expect that from my students and I expect that from my teachers.

I am saddened that people feel the need to make others feel less than in any way, shape or form. It is only a reflection on them and yet I feel it important to mention that it has effected me because like I wrote, this one teacher is one of my favorites.

I will continue to practice with him because he challenges me in a way that no other teacher does, but I do feel that challenge
and pressure are quite different and that I must differentiate between the two and not let his pressure sway the potential I know my practice has...in my own time.
In my own time, I have been amazed at my progress. No one comments on that!
I know I am getting stronger and better, but I am getting that way because my inner voice is kinder and gentler and much louder than his firm pressure.
If others find that method more beneficial for them, that is great, but I am not that person or that teacher.
I come from the place of encouragement and potential to grow and get better from where you are in your own time.
Not in making jokes or making one feel bad for not being able to hold an arm balance or 'compete.'
I would like to spread the word to teachers and people in general, especially in the yoga community.
Yoga has gotten to the point where, yea, everyone does it. But, it doesn't mean, we are all superior in our poses or even have the drive to be superior and perfect in our poses. Like life. Let us be. Lead us and let us be lead to be.
Teach us and let us learn in our way. That is perfection.
Ah-Ha!
-Laurie

One thought on “Nature vs. nurture…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *