“We are not born all at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later; and the birth and the growth of the spirit, in those who are attentive to their own inner life, are slow and exceedingly painful.” ~Mary Antin
Quality 25: Attentive
Those who have never attended a yoga class might be surprised to learn that good yoga teachers will give their students personalized attention in the form of communication for specific alignment or even a physical adjustment in the right moment, a gentle press of the palm into the floor or a supportive hand to help with balance in Triangle pose. Unlike normal exercise classes where students follow a leader who is also doing the workout, yoga teachers instruct verbally and also attend to their students’ needs.
Good yoga teacher are more concerned about the needs of their students than their own personal workout. They spend many hours practicing their trade and learning how to articulate, communicate, plan, and inspire their students. The entire backdrop for their performance as teachers revolves around being attentive to the needs of their students. Their class plans may be changed midstream if their students need something different – an easier or harder modification, lower or higher intensity.
Good yoga teachers seem to instinctively know when their students are struggling or need more of a challenge. Their skills of intuition have been honed through countless hours of watching their students and being attentive to the smallest changes in body language and breath. Perhaps they notice a student who is becoming tired in downward facing dog and so cue a change to child’s pose for a momentary rest. They may sense that someone has had a very emotional day and offer words of encouragement.
Good yoga teachers truly have the opportunity to the change the lives of their students. They recognize the opportunity and also deeply appreciate and respect their most sacred of duties – sitting in the seat of teacher, and being attentive to their responsibilities, their students.
Have you ever been to a yoga class where a teacher changed your day for the better?