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Teaching With Humility and Intention

Don't let being a teacher go to your head. The teaching itself is what shines, and you simply pass the torch.

Teaching can be great for confidence, and deranging to the ego.

The Achilles Heel of any teacher is the tendency to confuse praise of your teaching abilities for praise of the teaching itself. The dharma (teaching) is not possessed by any person, but is available to any earnest seeker. Truth belongs to no one, but exists sovereign and immutable, accessible to all. Beyond this, the word dharma also refers to a divine destiny, or fate. Be ever humble. Any abilities and special talents you may find within yourself are gifts which have been given to you with great luck and fortune, and to share them is to show your gratitude for such blessings. Regardless of your beliefs (or lack thereof) on destiny, remember that most of what makes you who you are is far beyond your control. Much of it is determined at birth by genetics, and most of the rest is determined by your interactions with the world - which are outside of your control entirely. Recognizing the great fortune in being here right now, wherever that may be, will set the foundation for humility in the role of a teacher.

Students can put their teachers on a podium. They can also become quite vulnerable in the process of yoga, and it is our duty to only use this space to help others. Imagine a student comes sobbing to you after a class and tells you a fantastic tale of transformation in their own life and how you have changed their life and given them a second wind, completely changed them. How much have you really done? Could they have transformed if they hadn’t been truly ready for a change to begin with? Is it not they who had to make the sacrifices, and get their hands dirty, possibly putting their lives and security on the line to reshape their lives? Is it really ever you who provides inspiration, and not the clear message of truth itself? If one were to find a lost traveler in dark woods whose torch has gone out, and simply tip their flame to ignite theirs, they would not be credited for being the light and the warmth itself. Never forget that someone, or some situation ignited any flame within you that is worth sharing - you may rub sticks together and see a flame, but the potential was available always within the organic matter. We are mirrors and nothing else, and a student can look in the mirror, or not.

Minneapolis, MN, USA

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