DISCLAIMER: I reserve the right to change my mind, tweak, alter and utterly contradict the views expressed in this newsletter at any time that seems appropriate :-).
In my first post, I posited that the job of a yoga teacher is to teach people how to practice on their own. I have long wondered whether public classes are the best way for people experience agency in a yoga practice. In smaller classes when one is first learning asana, the 20:1 student teacher ratio may be very appropriate, especially to establish a solid grounding in basic somatic awareness and familiarity with the fundamentals of yoga asana. However, at a certain point we need to learn how to take ownership of our own practice. No matter how skilled the teacher, they still can't get inside of your body and figure out exactly what’s going on- let alone decipher the dynamic psychological and layered nature of your practice. An alternate solution is to exclusively teach people 1-on-1. This would be an amazing plan, if it weren't cost prohibitive for 90 percent of practitioners.
That being said, I have decided to begin an experimental teaching modality, aimed at finding a middle ground between the more clinical approach of 1-on-1 private teaching and the larger group format. Practice LAB (thanks to Becca Neth for the exquisitely simple title) is a forum for guided self-learning and exploration of yoga asana, pranayama and meditation. Before each semester students will meet with me to discuss their objectives and strategies for practice. Working together, we will formulate a practice plan that will serve as a guideline for the Friday morning sessions. This outline may involve a specific sequence of postures, techniques or simply an intention for practice. This dialogue will continue over the course of the semester and will be adapted to fit the needs of the individual. While every student will be practicing on their own, I will be present in the room each Friday to offer guidance, modifications, adjustments, and instruction. Use of the rope wall and large props (chairs, backbenders, benches etc) will be taught and demonstrated when needed.
This format is an great way to begin or refine a home practice, while still experiencing the support of a community and teacher. It is also a fantastic forum for teachers and teachers-in-training to collaborate in a unique and supportive practice environment.
I am requesting that students should have at least 6 months of a consistent yoga practice before applying for this program.