The Seat of the Teacher

By Mark Stephens on Tue, 04/19/2016 - 22:15

Poses are static representations of idealized forms, something models do for cameras in an effort to send an external message. Typically airbrushed and enhanced in other ways, they are anything but real. Asanas, by contrast, are alive and personal; they are an expression of organic human beings exploring, living, and intentionally evolving in the temple of the bodymind. When we appreciate a student through the wisdom of our heart, then we more naturally see the intrinsic beauty already manifest in their practice. From this starting point we come to more naturally sit in the seat of the teacher, giving our students the space to blossom in the fullness of their yoga—even when we apply what insight we might have into the basic architecture, gesture, and mood of each asana as it is uniquely and beautifully expressed in each individual student.  


In giving tactile cues, we are offering students guidance in finding their way to a more stable foundation, to aligning their body safely and comfortably, and to encouraging deeper exploration while staying connected to the breath and bodymind as their principal sources of guidance. We are guiding our students on a journey set primarily by each student’s own intention, whether sensed as physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. When we approach and guide students with this attitude, it empowers them to go as deeply as they are meant to go in that moment of their practice, further clarifies the teacher-student relationship, and reinforces an open-minded and open-hearted experience in doing yoga. In this relationship, yoga teachers are engaging in a quality of social interaction that forms an important part of the environment of the student’s yoga practice and sense of being, and in this relationship, both teacher and student are transformed.