Rewind a little...
There's a ton of goodness in the yoga world, so don't get your panties in a bunch and say "oh, you are just mean and negative". But the steamy stinky scandalous shit can't be simply ignored. Speaking of steamy stinky shit, once again I was honoured to have the opportunity to exchange blessings with Crusty Nono Myass, who did a great job in representing steamy stinky shit. Her high horse is seriously dead and she really needs to get off it. It's no longer fun to make fun of her. I hope she gets help for her obvious anger and self-hate problems.
Fast forward a bit...
Two big piles of steamy fecal matter were dropped in the western yoga world recently. There were a few more piles dropped elsewhere, but my plate is just not big enough for so much chocolate pudding.
Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram yoga, was once again getting sued for failing to keep his little Dickram in his short shorts. You can find out more here. This isn't the first time his little Dickram got him into some hot water and will unlikely be the last. I'll say this though: this guy is a serious douchebag.
Another pile of steamy fecal matter was excreted by YogaGlo. In the name of "I own this shit", YogaGlo attempted to obtain a patent on the placement of a camera in an online yoga class and tried to shut down any online yoga class that put the camera in the back of the classroom. They even tried to stop any patent application to have "glo" in the applicant's name, like "Globox" which is a DVD rental company, or "Glow Hockey" which is a game on mobile devices. A few notes to self:
- Cancel YogaGlo subscription. I cannot support its non-sense bullying tactic to snub out competitions because it goes against all teachings of yoga.
- Sign the petition to stop YogaGlo's bullshit here.
- Get patents on these words: yoga, om, Surya Namaskar, namaste.
- Get patent on placement of toilet paper within 2 feet of any toilet bowl. If YogaGlo can get a patent on where to put a camera in a classroom, why can't I get a patent on where to put your shit tickets? Imagine you have to get a license to put toilet paper within 2 feet of your toilet bowl. Every time you wipe, I become richer.
Are you ready? *drum roll*... this is Chapter 1 of the teacher training manual of Sarcastic Hatha Institute of Tantrika Yoga or S.H.I.T. Yoga! Yup, y'all been voluntarily enrolled in the most beautifulest transformatively avant garde hatha yoga system paradigm... just kidding.
But, first and foremost, when you assume the role of "yoga teacher", be authentic and don't be a pile of steamy fecal matter. See above. Also, there are three things happened in the last little while that brought me clearer clarity (how's that for a tongue twister?) of "teaching yoga". I'm like being so totally serious.
Rewind a bit...
I spent a weekend a couple of months ago in the Okanagan and did a badass yoga workshop with Super Noah. It was just what I needed to recover from those two hell-freezing weeks with my family. I also got to see a couple of people whom I hadn't seen for a long time AND I got to channel surf on cable TV. It was pretty awesome. Of course there were some interesting conversations with my fellow yogis. By the way, according to a renowned burlesque dancer in the Okanagan, we should keep ten different kinds of cinnamon at home. Just because.
The question of "why do people come to the mat?" naturally came up. In my case, I come to my mat to clear my head and recharge my body. However, many suggest they take yoga classes to sort out their personal problems or to seek spiritual epiphany. I have never experienced an emotional meltdown just from doing a few rounds of Surya Namaskar or relived some childhood trauma while in a backbend. May be my Kundalini got stuck in my chakras, which could explain why I sometimes look constipated. I just find the notion of asana as a form of psychotherapy a bit absurd. Yoga most definitely has therapeutic effects on one's mind and body. But if people expect answers to their marital problems in a yoga class, or they have an episode of Chernobyl while standing in Tadasana, they probably need more help than just some Pranayama exercise. Regardless, we all have our reasons. I'll save the discussion on the cogency of those reasons for another blog.
For me, yoga is not the solution, but rather a vehicle that can take me to the solution.
Fast forward again...
I participated in a 28-day challenge which I made a number of dietary changes and began a boot camp type of fitness regime. Oh sweet Jesus Holy mother of lard, those workouts are intense! To put them in asana terms, imagine doing 30 rounds of Surya Namaskar A in 10 minutes, follow with a 2-minute handstand, rinse and repeat two more times and finish the routine within 45 minutes. It is that fast and furious. But the endorphins rush and the sense of accomplishment are sweet... similar to feeling like a million dollars after a great asana practice.
Hold on to your panties, I'm onto something.
But let's first talk about the third thing that inspired this blog. I recently participated in a mentoring program at work and I get to take a number of interesting workshops. In one I found out that I'm only 95% sarcasm and sadly still 5% human... I cried for days. The workshop on coaching and listening was the most fascinating.
Here's the deal: coaching, teaching, mentoring and performance feedback are four different things.
So what is a yoga teacher supposed to do? Well, you'll have to wait for Chapter 2 of the teacher training manual of Sarcastic Hatha Institute of Tantrika Yoga. Ha! But for the discussion in this blog, it's become apparent to me that people who go to yoga classes have two distinct mindsets. One wants to combat personal demons while the other chases the endorphins rush. For some wackos like myself, they want a bit of both. When the students have their own agendas, is your job as a yoga teacher to coach? mentor? manage performance? What are you really responsible for? What kind of conversation do you intend to have? What kind of conversation should you have? Should you even be talking?
I'll close this chapter with this: some of the greatest teachers are idiots.
Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of the teacher training manual of S.H.I.T. Yoga.