What happens when you learn something new and have to bring it into your teaching? I’ll tell you, you have to be humble, vulnerable, and honest. It’s a great lesson in using your yoga. I have a funny (and scary) story about this exact experience!
As a yoga teachers, our wonderful students put a lot of trust in us. They often think that we know everything! But, as I often say, I really know nothing.
I’ve been teaching for 17 years, I’m an E-RYT 500 hr., I do continued education every year and I’m still learning constantly. What I know is only small drop in the bucket of yoga. Not to mention, that a lot of what we think we know will likely be proven incorrect or inaccurate by science and continued study in the next several years.
About 12 years ago I learned about the carrying angle in the elbow from a teacher in Ketchikan, Alaska. I was traveling and just dropped in at a studio for a class. I don’t know his name or the name of the studio, however I really wish I did. He was way ahead of his time!
I was blown away by this education on the carrying angle. It made sense to me and revolutionized my practice. I decided to incorporate it into my teaching.
About 5 years later I was teaching an alignment workshop with teachers and studio members in Vancouver. As I was teaching the carrying angle and how to incorporate it into our practice, several of the studio members got upset with the teachers in the room because the teachers had not taught them about the carrying angle. The teachers were embarrassed and I had to calm the members down. It was a bit of a mess and I felt horrible.
After that, I tried to searched out teachers regarding the carrying angle. I looked online and I reached out to some teachers I knew in the community. I needed some validation and clarification. Was I teaching it correctly? How did it apply to our practice? I found nothing and no one seemed to know what I was talking about.
So, I stopped teaching it.
Fast forward another 2 years. I’m about 2 weeks into teaching a 200hr. Yoga Teacher Training in Vancouver with new soon to-be teachers when I leave for a weekend trip to San Diego to attend the Yoga Journal conference and train with the amazing Alexandria Crow. @alexandriacrowyoga
Guess what?! Alexandria Crow is teaching the carrying angle! I couldn’t believe it. Everyone at the conference is talking about it.
Now I have to go back to Vancouver and teach the students in my 200hr. about the carrying angle. Right before I left I had just gone over arm and shoulder alignment for weight barring poses like downward dog and plank. I had taught them the standard, ‘hands under your shoulders’ alignment. Now I had to teach them that hands under the shoulders didn’t work for most people. In fact, it damages rotator cuffs!
I had to come back to them and say, “Sorry everyone, I learned something new. I now know better and I have to teach you better.”
Talk about a bite of humble pie.
I was dreading coming home and telling everyone. How could I possibly do this? My ego was really scared, everyone would hate me. They would think I was a fraud, that I knew nothing! They were paying me to teach them how to teach and I had messed it all up!
On the flight home I meditated. I journaled. I tried to figure out how to use my Yoga to get me through this awful (and awkward) situation.
In the end, I just went in to the YTT and explained honestly what had happened. It was challenging to face my ego in that way but I tried to stay as vulnerable and authentic as I could and....
Everyone was fine with it! No one was mad, no one hated me!
It was a beautiful example of yoga in action. If you are authentic and honest, people will respect you. I had a good intention through the entire process and my students saw that.
My students learned about the carrying angle but they also learned a valuable lesson in how to stay humble, continue to learn, and accept that no one is perfect or knows everything… even our amazing yoga teachers.
I learned how to stay humble, vulnerable and authentic with my students. Also, when your intention is pure, everything will work out. Often situations aren’t as scary as you make them out to be in your head.
It was a valuable lesson and I’m so glad it happened.
If this topic intrigues you and you’d like some help negotiation a similar experience, check out my last two blogs!