We’re definitely approaching the end of our teacher training, and I’m pretty sure that we all are feeling it in different ways, with different combinations of joy and anxiety, and with massive amounts of gratitude. Over the last two weeks we’ve put a lot of energy into learning sequencing, thanks to the dedication of our teacher Elise Lorimer. She’s really helped us find ways to piece all of the anatomy, alignment, and philosophy that we’ve dedicated ourselves to studying over the last five months together. At this point, we’ve all taught the entire class Sun Salutations, which, as I found out last week, is a daunting task, especially in the large space of the Castro studio. We’ve also been working on putting larger sequences together with different combinations of poses, revolving around different themes, ranging from learning styles to the yamas and niyamas. Next week, in small groups, we’re all going to get the chance to teach pieces of a more elaborately woven sequence. And then, in order to graduate, we’re going to need to teach an entire class of our friends and fellow teacher trainees. Yikes. I’m definitely a little nervous about this one, but I’m also excited for the opportunity, as I imagine that plunging and beginning to teach is really the best way to get better as a teacher.
Two weeks ago we had a Friday night philosophy class with Sean Haleen based around theming. I really enjoyed learning from him, and what he taught integrated perfectly with what Elise was teaching us. He helped us to think about different ways to theme, ranging from peak poses, body parts, stories, philosophies, emotions, and quotes. In the classes that I’ve taken with him in the past, I’ve found this use of stories to help theme quite inspiring, and so it was great to learn more about how he utilizes stories to compose a class. He talked a lot about the koshas, based upon the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras. Koshas are hard to define, but they have to do with a cloaking of the heart and the ways in which we see the world. In a sense, they are like the layers of onion, and as we peel them off, we are more able to see things as they are. They have four different levels of intensity, ranging from active, when you’re super attached to the layers, to dormant, when you’re quite far from being stuck in the samskaras, or energetic grooves, that keep you attached. This is obviously an intricate system, but it was fun to think about in relationship to theming and structuring a class.
Then over this past weekend, Darcy led our Friday night philosophy class, which was centered around the psychological concepts of transference and counter-transference. I don’t think that this is something that a lot of yoga teachers are taught, and I’m so grateful that she imparted it upon us. It’s so common for yoga students to transfer early learned psychological dynamics on to yoga teachers, or really any teacher for that matter. This is especially true in regard to idealization transference. Because yoga teachers are for some people spiritual teachers, the transference can get really intense, and has the possibility of being really unhealthy, especially if the yoga teacher does not handle the transference in an ethical manner. Counter-transference is basically the response to the transference that occurs, so we learned, in a sense, ways to deal with transference in ethical and responsible ways. So many yoga teachers don’t do this, as we can see in the cases of so many scandals in so many places. Darcy left us with the task of writing our own sexual code of conduct, so that we can be prepared for different tensions that might arise during our times as teachers. I feel really grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about this from her, as it really is so rarely discussed.