I just had a chat with someone who recently started using a yoga DVD. Knowing I am a yoga teacher and because a DVD doesn’t talk back, he asked me a few questions about some yoga basics. We talked about hamstrings (they’re usually tight), headstands (I don’t recommend them) and frequency of practice (I like to say, “One hour of yoga is better than zero hours of yoga”). Everything was going along nicely and then it happened. I turned on the Yogaspeak.
He got that look. It’s a look that elegantly blends fear of and concern for me into one marvelous facial expression. It’s a look that says, “Please stop talking. I don’t want to have this conversation.”
First, I would like to say publicly: I apologize. I did not mean to freak you out.
Second, I will take this opportunity to remind myself to only engage in Yogaspeak with my teachers and colleagues. It doesn’t frighten them. They talk the same way.
But “civilians” don’t necessarily want to hear me wax eloquent on the ten bodies, the blue ethers or the unstructured data field. It seems to leave them with the feeling that they thought I was normal (I’m not) and that they thought they knew me (they do).
During my first Kundalini yoga teacher training at Yoga West Los Angeles, Guru Singh cautioned us about this phenomenon. He looked out at our eager, shining faces and said, “You’re here because…you’re weird.” We laughed (at least I did) because it’s true. He then suggested we be selective when sharing about the magical transformation we would experience and the esoteric teachings we would learn. Good advice.
It’s not a bad thing to be weird — we’re all unique in some way — but as a teacher, I’m only as good as my ability to communicate the teachings. Since most people try yoga because they simply want to feel better, I’m always working to find language that is accessible to anyone. I want to allow people to feel more comfortable, not less, with yoga.
So next time your eyes glaze over while I’m talking about all this wacky stuff, don’t worry. I won’t be offended. In fact, you’re doing me a favor. You’re making me a better teacher.