Author Mark Twain said he never let his education interfere with his learning. As yoga teachers, our formal school training prepares us to take on the challenges of teaching a Yoga class, protect our students from harm and help them develop good habits for their own practices. But all the Yoga teacher training in the world can’t teach us everything a teacher can know throughout a lifetime of teaching.
The truth is that a Yoga teacher never stops being a student. And better still, even the newest of our students has something to teach us. We know how to ask about injuries and conditions. We know how to watch to keep students out of trouble. But most of the time, there isn’t too much trouble, yet there is so much to learn from our students.
A student may think differently about Warrior I pose that you do. She may think that lifting the chest comes from the shoulders and not from the beneath the rib cage. Correcting her posture will keep her out of trouble, and thus keep you out of trouble as a yoga teacher. But we will all become better teachers if we listen to the student tell us why she was doing the pose that way.
Doing so will better prepare us to help others and it will also give our mind a new perspective, just as moving ourselves into complex poses does in our own yoga practice. Doing so helps us continue to learn-as good teachers, we never stop being students. Plus, acknowledging input from our students will help them realize their own sense of self and help them build their confidence in their yoga practice and in life. And isn’t that what we’re supposed to help our yoga students do?