Reflecting on Desikachar’s comment, quoted below, I am reminded of its depth in terms of its observation around its message exorting us to consider the relationship between the need to practice more, the more we teach.
“The more you teach,
the more you must practice.”
Within this message is also the need to take steps to ensure our Yoga practice avoids being an extension of our Yoga teaching. In other words ensuring our Yoga teaching is an extension of our Yoga practice.
Our Yoga Teaching needs to be an accessory to our Yoga Practice.
Rather than our Yoga Practice being an accessory to our Yoga Teaching.
Hence the need to hold our personal practice on a separate trajectory to our teaching practice. Within this there are further considerations that may be helpful such as the need to ensure that our personal Yoga Practice doesn’t become a repetition of, or rehearsal for, our Yoga Teaching plans. Or not using teaching time as a way to ‘clock up’ practice hours through demonstrating, or leading the class through ‘follow me’ choreographies.
Also appreciating that our personal practice may need to function as a Pratikriyāsana or opposite action posture, in terms of an alternative or compensatory process. This may be within a physical, energetic, psychological or even emotional context. Here I feel that Yoga teachers today are under more pressure these days due to many more factors that have emerged.
These factors range from it being a full time career endeavour, through to the demands of the Yoga teacher dominant environment, through to the demands of modern postural Yoga class structures being Yoga Studio generalised, multi-level, multi-styled, drop-in based, online bookable, service provider offerings for attendees more often seeking a Yoga experience, rather than wanting to actually study Yoga.
I feel personally these are also factors which can often drive ‘students’ to look for stimulus from the latest new Yoga studio, or a new variety of class, or style, or even teacher, rather than engage with the issues which can drive us to search without rather than look within for resolution of the issues, or perhaps life anxieties that can underpin the issues that brought us to Yoga in the first place.
Thus its difficult these days not to be consciously or even unconsciously driven by ‘students’ consumer needs within this modern Yoga supermarket. Hence the need to constantly look carefully at both where our personal practice is going within our own unique needs as a spiritual quest and its role as a developmental process, or as a personal support, or even in a recovery role within our teaching life. Lest we fall into the potential Yoga parenting trap with its attendant personal practice life pitfalls.