This last summer a yoga student from Australia had contacted me to ask if I could give her a private 200h yoga teacher training. At first I thought “oh that would be an Interesting and different concept” but how would this practically work? The level of focus and presence required in a one-on-one situation can be intense and demanding. I wondered how we could do this without it being too intense especially for her. I took some time to reflect and finally decided to say YES because I loved the idea, the challenge and the incredible potential within such a project. So we agreed that she would come to Morocco for three months for a personalised somatic yoga apprenticeship. We are now almost one month into the training and so far it has been a deep learning experience for both.
We all have different ways of learning, our years in regular school systems have left a deep imprint on how we take in information, memorise , cope with being in a group situation with the pressure of time, tests, rating, competitiveness and one fit-to-all programs. There is not much space for an individualised process and needs of a human being in the mainstream education. When we train in a yoga ttc all these old patterns may surface and in some cases may need to be overcome to learn differently. To listen, learn, evolve and free ourselves with our full body rather than just understanding something from a mind perfective. Yoga it is really an embodied practice that is bringing us back in touch with ourselves on such a deeper level. How to truly honour such a process?
Over the past 12 years I have completed hundreds and hundreds of hours in various yoga teacher trainings and workshops with big names in the yoga industry. Most of the time those trainings are in big groups with 30 or plus people in the room. The teachers often have hardly any time to give individualised attention and are often little available for questions. And I know from my experience of years of teaching that leading a group class is always a bit of a compromise, as not all can be addressed and transmitted in this particular situation. Now don’t get me wrong, I also love group classes, as they create a wonderful shared collective experience, and the energy that is generated can be uplifting and very positive. And yes in a way this is modern yoga … however, traditionally, yoga was transmitted in a completely different way. The teachings where often kept secret and were transmitted only to the students that were really ready to absorb the knowledge and wisdom. Students where carefully selected and their progress was carefully monitored by their teachers. This teacher-student relationship was a very deep and personal bond that meant a full commitment for both the student and the teacher. To create such a bond was not taken lightly and would sometimes mean years and years of dedication and patience, and the willingness to truly go through deep transformations in the process. Different students would receive a set of completely different Sādhanas (practices) from the teacher depending on where the students were on their personal journey of evolution. Now we live in such a different time, yoga techniques are no longer a secret and are widely accessible to anybody willing to find them. Yoga has become mainstream and within it lies the danger of distortion, dilution of the essence of it all and sometimes comes with a sense of confusion of what does really serve me, right now, in my life ? I personally think that yoga, being such a mainstream phenomenon, is very positive and holds the promise that if enough people rise up their frequency and take charge of their life in a more embodied way, we may collectively change for the better.
Now being in such a intimate private class setting, with my student over this past month, has been such a delight. I discover more and more the power of a personalised, individualised pace in the transmission of yogic tools that took me decades to integrate. It feels deeply satisfying and meaningful to, day after day, witness my student coming more and more home to herself. To find what is really relevant to her right now in this moment for her life. When we meet challenging moments it is profoundly fascinating to trust the process and let, whatever wants to surface, arise, be seen, be discussed and acknowledged and ultimately be felt. It requires me to hold space in a more intuitive, fluid way and yet hold the container with stability and spaciousness. This all feels very much like yoga to me, and I am grateful and honoured to accompany such a journey.