Over the years, I’ve tried to sublimate my personality to my teaching. This hasn’t been an easy process as I like to be the centre of attention, and I know that especially in my early years of teaching, I had to overcome being a show-off.
Yoga teachers have a big responsibility to their students. Because they are in a position of authority, they really need to be free of selfish interests to teach ethically.
The thing is that we teachers teach who we are as much as the content of the subject being taught. One’s personality can easily get in the way and subvert effective teaching.
Now don’t get me wrong. A little charisma and personal magnetism can go a long way to making yoga interesting to learn. But when the teacher’s ego subverts the message, then students go off track and may end up wasting time, energy and money.
The teacher herself may lose her way, too, if what she is trying to do is win the popularity stakes instead of attain freedom from egoistic bonds.
Bernard Bouanchaud* has a few tips for helping others:
1. Accept your character and make peace with the influences that created it.
2. Practice refining your perceptions:
Let go of conditioning.
Subtly understand another’s behaviour.
Adapt to the other’s behaviour.
Change the other’s behaviour by changing your own.
Bandha-karana-saithilyat-pracara-samvedanat-ca cittasya para-sarira-avesah
Letting go of the structure of personality and refining perception of movement awakens the faculty of influencing another’s mind and body.*
*The Essence of Yoga – Reflections on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by Bernard Bouanchaud.