Humility… Is it needed as a Yoga Teacher?
Let us look a little deeper at the word “humble”,
Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance’
Simple, gentle, unassuming, courteous, unpretentious,
The Latin definition is ‘humus’…meaning the earth..I’ll come back to this
Within Yogic texts such as The Bhagavad Gita, humility is referred to as an “absence of self-importance”.
So why is this relevant to myself, as a yoga teacher and more importantly how does it help those that come to my class?
I often open up to my class, I speak from the heart and I shared regarding a specific posture due to my fear of falling
Now this isn’t, “in case I look daft kinda fear”, as I am waaay beyond that but a deep, panic, heart almost stops kinda fear. Having conversations with other people in my class, it seems to increase after having children. Maybe this is an innate sense of preservation?
However, by opening up to my class I hopefully eased any similar worries they may have and…..i feel it bridges the gap between them and myself.
I am them. I’m not separate from them simply because I lead them through beautiful pranayama techniques or postures. There should be no sense of superiority simply because you guide & share the knowledge of yoga.
I am only there to share the knowledge of yoga that my teachers have shared with me and from the books I have read & absorbed over the years.
The way, I felt, to lead this was to discuss the posture and my struggles & go into the posture with care & to show modifications.
As it turned out, a few had falling fears so I knew I could empathise and understand their reasoning whether to try or to leave it for another day.
Even in writing this, I am battling against the inner voice reminding me that this blog may appear like as I am trying to cleverly suggest…
“wow check me out, I teach this way, I am ammaaazzzing blah blah blah” which makes my insides cringe! (I’m breathing through it ha ha)
Yes I have to believe in myself and what I teach..which I do.
There’s a level of confidence within and this is needed, as I know I can lead people with all varying levels of flexibility and old/existing injuries/ailments safely, respectfully and inclusively through a class.
The class needs to trust the teacher.
When the class is taught by a Peacock , it becomes about the teacher and the class should always be about you. The lovely human, that is you reading this.
I have watched amazingly flexible teachers and at the same time, they haven’t noticed that many are left behind, with no guidance. I have heard the cringe-worthy stories from people being asked politely to leave the class as “yoga isn’t for them” or telling the instructor about their bad knee and being told “why are you here?” and being shown very advanced postures in beginners classes.
I could go on and it saddens me sooo much as those people that made the effort to turn up may never try yoga again?!
The class is about YOU, it’s your precious time, it’s your wonderful unique body that you are there to open and your busy mind that needs that time to detach.
Humility is an understanding that “I do not know it all and I will always have more to learn.”
Within Yogic texts such as The Hatha Yoga Pradipika reminds the spiritual aspirant to “remember their humble position in the mighty cosmic force”. “Humbleness means simplicity of character and lifestyle. The soul needs no lavish accessories, food or praises, and when you seek them they pull you away from your true identity.”
So I’m returning to the Latin word “humus” - the Earth. We should think of humility as staying grounded to our roots…we are from the earth & will return to it. We are not or ever greater than, we simply are.
So is humility an important part of being a yoga teacher?
I’m answering that with a passionate…yes.
I found this…….
The Bhagavad Gita, Eknath Easwaran
Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktibodhananda