Hello to all, out there in BlogLand. I thought I would share this piece I wrote for the Kripalu Yoga Teachers’ Association bulletin, in response to this question:
What is our role and responsibility in the lives of our students who are struggling and having a hard time?
Even if you are not a teacher, (especially if you are not a teacher), I challenge you, as you read this, to imagine how this might translate to your world. What does this say about your relationship with family? Your children? Your friends? Your employeers? Your employees? The kid bagging groceries in the supermarket?
Consider as you read:
“As teachers, (as human beings), our primary role is to create the space in which are students can be safe, comfortable, relaxed and present. As this happens, healing energy and the possibility of transformation becomes available to them. Obviously we are not that healing energy. We create the space in which those miracles of asana, of prayer, of meditation, of community and of satsanga manifest.
In thinking about our role of holding space for students who are in great pain and struggling, I remember the invitation the Bhavaga Gita offers us, “to take action and to let go of the fruits of those actions”. We can do all that we can do to offer presence, attention, love, and support. Yet we cannot control the outcome of our students’ sadhana, both on and off the mat. Ultimately, not only are the outcomes of our students’ practices not our responsibility, they are not even our business. Our business is to simply love them.
And, so importantly, our business is to continue on our own journey of healing and wholeness. As we keep the focus on ourselves and our own multi-faceted sadhana on and off the mat, we support our students in ways we cannot even imagine.
Also we must remember to widen the scope of the lens of healing for our students. Trusting that, in observing their needs, we can offer suggestions and referrals for other kinds of modalities of support, like acupuncture or therapy. I don’t believe we have to do it all on the mat. Holistically, we get to draw on all forms of healing for our journey toward wholeness. Trust your gut as you consider offering referrals.
And, when all is said and done, the greatest gift we can offer our students is the modeling of that relaxation and that trust that we offer them, along with our prayers. Be generous and liberal in your prayerfulness for your students! What else is there to do?”