My daughter Lucia is a gifted musician. She plays piano and guitar and she sings (like an angel!). Like any eleven-year-old, she's partial to musicians like Adele and John Legend, and of course Taylor Swift. The other day Lucia was playing an "All of Me" by John Legend, sounding beautiful, soulful, and adorable. I asked her if she'd ever consider writing her own songs to which she replied, "Nope."
"Why not?," I queried.
"Too vulnerable" she said, very matter-of-factly.
Ever since Lucia made that statement, I've been thinking about my vocation, teaching Yoga. In the fifteen years of doing this work, my teaching has indeed evolved. It's evolved because I have taken different teachers classes, been through burn out and back, and because in the last few years, I've exposed myself to many more styles or Yoga, styles in which I am indeed a beginner, lacking skill and proficiency. It is perhaps the lessons in my journey as student that I have developed my greatest strengths as a teacher.
Part of the job of owning a studio is creating a vision for what I want to offer; for articulating and training to what I think makes a good teacher. To me, a good teacher is generous. They give something of themselves. A good teacher takes risks and tries new things. They are vulnerable in their process of learning how to be the best teacher they can be. Adele's declaration of what makes a good song reinforces this idea that you have to go deep, reach into the heart, to create something beautiful.
It's true that Lucia sounds beautiful singing John Legend and Taylor Swift and Adele. And, I think she'd sound even more amazing singing music that she wrote herself. As I continue to work hard to be a good teacher, a strong studio owner, I am keenly aware of how important it is for me to cultivate and nurture vulnerability in myself and my teachers.
For me, the vulnerability comes in that moment when I decide to step out of my comfort zone and introduce something new in class. Most students probably don't even see it happening. I'm still teaching the same posture, holding it about the same length of time. But I know it's happening. It's scary. It's uncomfortable. I'm vulnerable. I'm learning from each trial, and if I fail, it's okay. It's all part of the bigger process to create something beautiful.