lesson learned

I had been teaching almost a full decade when I decided to take a second, entry-level 200-Hour training with Sri Dharma Mittra. I was already highly experienced, already teaching at studios all over the world, but I really wanted to train with the master.

Anyone who knows me–who knows my teaching–knows that I love alignment. I love the minutiae, the tiny details that add up to make a huge and wonderful asana practice.

Well, Dharma Yoga doesn’t.

Dharma Yoga is more about the sensations and intuitive essence of the postures. Of feeling the poses out and exploring them.

I’m not here to say one approach is right or wrong. Just completely different.

And so, to put it bluntly, the Dharma Yoga team hated my teaching style. Every time I would teach, they would ask for less. And just when I thought I couldn’t give any less than I was and still call it teaching…they asked for less than that. (Obviously, they didn’t know I’m a Virgo!)

The relentless criticism of my teaching left me feeling despondent. Hollow. I cried more than once.

Not, by the way, because they were mean or insensitive in the way they talked to me. They were kind and constructive with their feedback. But because I felt like I was imperfect in some drastic and unfixable way. It felt personal. And it simply wasn’t.

On the last day of training, I literally fell to my knees in tears (like a bad movie) in gratitude for the experience. You see, Dharma’s team didn’t set out to “teach me a lesson.” It was just a lesson that I needed to learn.

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