distinguished, respected, eminent, venerable, hallowed, illustrious, prestigious, celebrated, honored, esteemed, exalted;
great, important, noble;
impressive, awe-inspiring, stately, grand, dignified
"our august guests"
This word "August" is SO befitting for the inner reflections on my mind of the last month, of my summer spent here in Saigon.
I run Yoga Teacher Trainings. This summer training marked #8. The more I run this course, the deeper my curiosity for learning grows, and the greater my respect is for the process attendees go through to take part in this course and the better teacher I want to be. This course I run is rigorous on a few levels (we cover foundational asana but really pick the practice apart and yes, anyone can partake in this course).
As much as the course is for getting VERY steady in the asana side of things, perhaps the most fascinating part of the training is observing our minds as we develop. We delve deep into meditation and self inquiry.
The other night I was questioning myself as a teacher, questioning the subject of education and Universities - what it means to be "educated" and I came accross an interesting article that really resonated with me. I have always gone against the grain in ways in regards to traditional education, what teachers share, content.
The gist of this poignant article from Psychology Today was this:
What is real learning? No, it is not simply memorizing facts or mastering course content. No, it’s not just critical thinking although that is an important element. It’s not graduating with honors with high grades.
A real education that is first rate should transform the student so that she never experiences the world the same way again; especially in areas of their major concentration.
In other words, an art student should never walk into a room and perceived and experience it in the same way that they did before their education. An English major should never read a piece of literature and respond to it the same way they did before. Psychology majors should experience people’s behavior in a whole new light; in a way in which they have never done previous to their college education.
Their perception and experiences of the world should change for the rest of their lives.
Secondly, a real education should change the character. Gains from studies should not just be mental in nature; but should impact upon a student’s very nature.
True education doesn’t just transform the mind; it transforms the soul.
YES! In reflecting on my education, my time spent with my toughest teachers like Anna Forest and my poetry teacher Mrs. Hart, at this stage I really do agree that there is something to be said for expertise, devotion, dedication and years of experience in a teacher. Everyone complained about her being so "strict". But none of us ever forgot her! She pushed us to be excellent. I appreciate and remember to this day and reflect often on her impact on me as a student.
Where would we be without teachers who care enough to challenge our views, our ways of being, our current knowledge?
Do not always teach to please (parents and students, for those of you who are teaching school kids!) and don't teach for the pat on the back. Teach what you see students can really benefit from, be it better mental focus, a stronger body or more flexible attitude. Let go of fear and trust your instincts. Teach your students to devote themselves, especially in the early years of their yoga practice - this is so important. The best benefits come with a dedicated practice.
In the coming weeks, I will be moving deeper into my own heart, body and mind as I prepare for my students to come and as i keep preparing my mind for life's challenges. These practices I speak of are powerful medicine and anyone who takes their leaning seriously, will grow and develop in ways words can not describe.