Teaching

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Teaching yoga has gotten into my blood in the last 6 years or so. My classes are more Iyengar oriented than vinyasa flow but students are invited to open, express, explore and delve into poses while I correct alignment. When I have doubts, need more information or anatomy, I go look it up. If someone desires a teacher who knows it all, they’re out of luck. Even when I recently had a small injury to my knee I used it as an opportunity to look at knee anatomy and make sure my students are safe concerning what I teach.

I’ve taught mixed yoga classes, yoga classes to seniors, yoga classes in offices and yoga classes where I had to entertain a child running around during. Embracing the present moment is what yoga is all about. If you can’t throw yourself to the wolves and make it up, you’re not a very good teacher. Practice with all things.

My yoga will continue to grow. I’d like to work on the vinyasa and explore new poses to add to my sequences but overall I’ve grown comfortable teaching beginners, one day that may turn into teaching intermediate students.

Thai massage classes are another thing all together. The anatomy is the same but Thai massage classes are like teaching yoga to the 3rd power. You’ve still got many students but now you’ve got one student working on another and the first thing you learn is when giving instruction is to say, “You are the giver and you are the receiver.” The rest of the commands go from there, otherwise no one has a clue who’s moving and who’s relaxing.

My recent Thai massage class really made me feel like this is going to work. There are small things to improve but when therapists who’ve worked 20 years tell you this is the best CEU class they’ve taken, you’re onto something. The work is new to them, completely unhinged and out of left field. Massage therapists who work on a table, with naked clients and cream are told, “Get rid of your table, keep the clients clothed and lose the cream.” We change gears completely. Then on the second day I start to hear, “This doesn’t stress my hands as much. My shoulers are more relaxed.” I just smile.

This isn’t new. This work is 2500 years old and said to have been invented by the Buddha’s doctor. I’m just passing it along.

There’s an Austin Thai massage and therapeutics group on facebook and I’ve been asked on occasion to lead them. I relish any chance to talk about this work I’ve grown to love over the years. I find out what the students want to work on and off we go. I lead, talk, discuss, demonstrate and explore for two hours and I notice a familiar face. The students being worked on get this beatific expression. The muscles in their face grow slack and there’s a relaxed smile that reminds me of the smiling Buddha statues. This familiar expression is a person telling me unconsciously that they didn’t know life could be this easy, relaxed and effortless.

I just smile and keep sharing. Teaching gives me the opportunity to say things that even I find amazing afterwards. When I easily flow from a discussion about piriformis anatomy and function to Jesus walking on water I’m at home. The students feel the sincerity, they feel that it’s not about money, not about business or some scheme. Thai massage and the work I teach is about healing.

You want to learn? Come.

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