Teacher Power & Self Inquiry

The inappropriate physical contact between yoga teachers & students has received significant media attention. However, this doesn’t imply that we should completely refrain from adjustments. Touch is an essential aspect of the human experience, albeit one that can also have negative consequences. To protect both our students & ourselves, it is crucial to prioritize consent & establish strong boundaries. Creating a safe environment is paramount, & ‘safe touch’ doesn’t necessarily imply a complete absence of touch.

Nonetheless, it’s important to acknowledge that non-sexual abuse of power over students can also have a profound impact. This includes belittling, labeling, ostracizing, ignoring, dismissing, excluding, intimidating, or public humiliation. Such behavior undermines the trust & nurturing necessary for any meaningful yoga teaching. It leaves students feeling ashamed, excluded, & powerless & can have lasting effects on their self-esteem.

As teachers, we too are human, & we may sometimes suppress our own humanness due to fears about how we may be perceived on our yogic path. However, it is important to recognize that the students we attract often mirror & support our personal journeys, presenting growth opportunities.

Being a yoga teacher requires engaging in profound self-inquiry. This involves seeing our entire selves, including the aspects we may not favour, embracing all our shadows & areas for personal development.

Our purpose as yoga teachers is to serve our students. When our teaching becomes solely driven by self-serving motives & ego, we compromise our integrity & miss out on valuable opportunities.

To maintain integrity, we must embrace ruthless self-honesty. This entails being open with our students about our own journey & acknowledging when we make mistakes.

Much like peeling layers of an onion, our thoughts & beliefs are often rooted in assumptions about ourselves & the world. These assumptions are often shaped by our life experiences & the influence others have had on us, whether consciously or subconsciously.

As teachers, we can be triggered by our students just as we can trigger them. By turning our attention inward & embarking on a journey of self-discovery, we can identify the limiting thoughts, beliefs, & triggers that give rise to our shadow behaviors & unhelpful patterns.

When we cultivate deep self-awareness, we unlock the door to self-understanding. This allows us to practice true patience, humility, empathy, & compassion toward ourselves first, which naturally extends to our teaching & students.

As a result, the journey we embark on with our students becomes profoundly transformational, transcending mere instruction & reaching the realm of personal growth & change.

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