“An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.” – Anatole France
Quality 22: Critical Thinkers
Good yoga teachers are thinkers more than others. They use their minds to learn many facets of the practice of yoga. They often spend years in dedicated learning to become proficient within their own practice and also within their instructional methods.
Through the years, every yoga teacher encounters contradicting information and teaching instructions. Good yoga teachers learn to use their minds to think critically upon the information and to determine the correct path for themselves and their students. Often, as well, instructions may vary depending upon the individual student.
Drawing upon my previous entry of table pose, one student who has limited mobility in his wrists should not be expected to completely straighten his arms. His lack of wrist mobility will automatically limit his ability to perform table pose in the traditional manner. A wise and good yoga teacher will make note of this limitation and not force the student to straighten his arms. The student could easily strain his wrists were he to force his arms to straighten.
Good yoga teachers should be able to think about the teachings they have received and with a critical eye, determine whether those teachings are valid and helpful to their students. Yoga is as much about not blindly following – teachers or instructions – as it is about going as deeply as possible into full understanding of the practice and being able to relay that information in a respectful and helpful way.
“Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead.” ~Alduous Huxley