There is a lot of talk out there these days about how to be a good yoga teacher. I think that the best way to be a good yoga teacher is to be a good yoga student. Here are my tips for how I try to be a good student of yoga.
- I use my own yoga mat. This is a pretty basic aspect of yoga. You will spend quite a lot of time on your mat. Your bare feet and your sweet face will most likely touch the same parts of the mat on many occasions. I don't know about you, but I don't tend to nuzzle strangers' feet. I also happen to think that, over time, your mat becomes impregnated with your psychic energy. I really encourage all good students of yoga to invest in a non-slip mat, and to keep it clean (they launder on a cool cycle really well - tip of the day!)
- I don't eat for two hours before practice, and don't drink for one hour. I don't drink during class. The energy of digestion is a downward-moving energy. In yoga, we are channelling energy and moving it upwards, usually. If you are digesting, you create confusion within. Better to practice while fasting.
- I don't practice when I have my period. Guys, you beat us on this one. The ladies are required to miss a few days per month, for the same reason as above. The menses are downward-moving. Yoga moves things upwards.
- To be a good student of yoga, I maintain silence before and during practice. Enough said.
- I practice six days per week, usually the same practice for a period of months, if not years. I know that this sounds craaazy to a beginner, but it really is the essence of the yogic mind. I figured this one out right at the beginning: I took a beginner's class at the Sivananda Centre in London. There, they told me that the objective of the course was to encourage home practice. I thought "ok", bought their book and started practising their simple sequence of Sun Salutations and 12 postures. I encourage you to do the same. The only way to be a good yoga practitioner is to practise!