Earlier this year, I spent a week in North Carolina studying Restorative Yoga and the Nervous System with two talented teachers. It was a dense training: 60 hours packed into one well-plotted week. While it wasn’t exactly a relaxing retreat, it was an energizing experience. I was reminded of some of the things I cherish most about yoga and studentship.
I love that yoga is a practice and that no matter how long we’ve been at it, we’re still practicing. The practice becomes both all-encompassing and more refined—it gets both larger and subtler. That paradox alone delights me.
One of my favorite readings that we do in our Teacher Training is an excerpt from Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach. Palmer, a secret yogi, writes that: “the subjects we choose are as large and as complex as life, so our knowledge of them is always flawed and partial.”
Indeed, yoga is bottomless. Not only is the subject itself an endless ecosystem, but so is each tiny capillary within the organism. At that same training in North Carolina, one of the teachers stated that “warrior two is infinite, savasana is infinite.” Her meaning, I think, was that rather than making dead, static shapes with our bodies, we’re entering into a live and evolving dialogue.
This dynamic conversation is part of what makes being both a student and a teacher so gratifying. It’s also why we get so excited for each training program, because every iteration is unique and irreplicable.
Teaching becomes an extension of your yoga practice—a whole new dimension to explore. One of the most powerful things about studying yoga in a group is that it surrounds self-discovery with the support of a community. As we look inwards, we discover threads of universality that connect us to one another. Teaching allows us to mine our very personal experiences on the mat and offer up those insights to a community of fellow practitioners.
For my own part, I imagine that I will always identify first and foremost as a student. Learning is what makes me feel most alive and plugged in. Apparently I’m in good company, because Krishnamurti has similar thoughts:
“There is no end to education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning"