What is my truest intention as a teacher? In a recent “audition” for a teaching job, I was asked the question; “How or what do you feel you contribute to your students practice?” It got me thinking. What is the most authentic offering I can give? What has been my personal experience on my mat and do I tap into that when I teach?

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I have learnt through my own practice that as I tune into the deeper layers of myself I have been able to prescribe my body with what it needs in that moment. Through a deeper connection I now have found an inner confidence to take variations or modifications that best serve me. I’m no longer conscious of what it looks like aesthetically or what others may think of me as I make my own choices. I think here stems the root of my truest intention as a teacher.

I instinctively encourage students to listen in to what their body needs at that specific time, in that specific pose, allowing that to be their sole focus. I also encourage them to follow the natural rhythm of their breath, to follow this rhythm and allow it to be the guide for the pace of their practice; to find their own truest intention. Creating this attention to what they are doing as an individual, perhaps closing their eyes as they move, I notice them connecting and communicating with themselves and over time I see a shift in confidence on their mat. They become more aware of what is happening in that moment rather than being caught up in concern for what is happening off their mat.

This expression of self from the students and gentle encouragement from myself has meant that sometimes my classes can look to some as aesthetically “ugly”, not conformed, not regimented. To me it is beauty of its truest form, it’s real and honest, it moves and changes and is unpredictable. There is life in class, there are individuals finding themselves and their truest intention and a teacher who is doing exactly the same! That is what I bring!

How or what do you feel you contribute to your students practice? What is your truest intention as a teacher?

Contributed by Joanna Griffin, Yoga Teacher Training Alum & Faculty Member

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