Being on the teaching path and educating people about embodiment I have seen many students come and go. Some I see for many years while with some others our paths never seem to cross again, which is fine because we are all on our own unique journey.
It is truly amazing to witness the growth and evolution of individual journeys, from a spark of inspiration and excitement into fully fledged teachers, running their own business and truly thriving doing what they love. As a teacher and mentor this is my one wish for all my students and mentees who come through my programs and trainings – to feel empowered and confident within themselves to step up, shine and share their love for embodiment.
One thing which is apparent to me is that as a teacher we can not force the learning, we can not influence how and when they show up and we especially can not predict their actions pre and post trainings. This is very humbling particularly when we want the absolute best for them because we see their full potential and believe in them 108%. Well I do anyway!
This learning journey is so unique and personal, making it very unpredictable and unknown as it aligns with the individual’s karma and life’s purpose. We can plan, envision, pray, wish and affirm that the best will unfold for all, but as teachers we have absolutely no control over how our students show up, what their reaction will be or when they will choose to share this information and with whom. We can only do our part and trust that they will do their best also with the tools and techniques we have given them.
As a teacher of embodiment and during my dance movement therapy training we are taught that emotions are stored in the body (joints, cells, organs, tissues etc) and can be spontaneously expressed and released at anytime. On occasion a trigger of any kind can release a positive or negative reaction which can be directed at us (the teacher) or another student. It may come out in other ways when we are not around so you may not even know about it. Instead you may never see them again or you do see them again but nothing is mentioned and you continue on as if everything is normal. This experience of inhabiting a body comes with great responsibility and deserves respect, kindness and humility, so in order to hold a safe container for ourselves and our students this consistency of showing up with unconditional positive regard is vital.
Like everything in this life, we are given only what we can handle and the same goes for the student/ teacher relationship. The teacher appears when the student is ready and this alignment is like a beautiful love story or two souls coming together to live and breathe in unison for however long their karma is connected. During this time there is a huge opportunity for growth for both parties – from personal experience I learn SO much each time I am with my students but the growth and relationship isn’t always easy.
Similar to any love story this student teacher relationship can dissolve just as quickly as it was created. We are together for a season then as the tides turn our paths go off in opposite directions and this can be a challenging and liberating time. It’s easy to get caught up in the rumination of Was it me? What did I do? What didn’t I do? Do they hate me? and so on, but ultimately we have no idea what happened or why. Some things are best left unsaid especially if you are not ready for the truth – but if you do care why not check in with them and ask?
A message for you teachers: Honour your roots (yes your teachers and the people who walked the path before you) as this will encourage your students to pay it forward and honour you. Know your self-worth and don’t settle for anything less. I personally want to see yoga teachers being paid well for their expertise, time and energy because only the Goddess knows how much time and energy we pour into our work! Continue learning and developing yourself to maintain a sense of integrity and respect for keeping the wisdom alive especially in times of uncertainty and chaos. Basically, just because you are the teacher it doesn’t meant that you always know what’s best for the student. It can be super humbling to step aside and listen/ witness to what our students in their power are trying to say.
A message for you students: Honour and respect your teachers plus the knowledge and wisdom they have imparted onto you. If you experience something transformational and want to share it with others really own and embody it before passing it on, remembering to honour your teacher! Encourage others to study with your teacher so they learn from the source of your inspiration. Remember that your teacher is also human who hurts, cries and feels tender sometimes, we may seem like super human but we’re not! Ultimately don’t forget who made the experiences possible for you and who supported, inspired and encouraged you to better yourself, to keep diving deeper and to keep showing up even when you didn’t want too. It means the world to a teacher for a student to acknowledge them!
So regardless if you are a teacher or a student we all have a part to play in this somewhat complex dynamic. Here’s my suggestion to keep a wholesome, loving and well respected student teacher continuum! Honesty is the currency of good relationships. Mutual respect is sustainable. The truth will set you free. Give recognition and acknowledgement where it’s due. Apologise and own it if you make mistakes and ultimately treat others how you wish to be treated.
Thank you to Dr Lauren Tober for the unconditional positive regard inspiration during her Mental Health Aware Yoga training.