To quote Parker Palmer, good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher. Another idea from Palmer is that good teaching also depends on having a “great subject” to teach about. This past weekend, we were lucky to see these these two ideas come together when Neeta Datta taught us.
The great subject was of course, yoga. Yoga is a vast subject, where years of study can only scratch the surface. Yoga is more than physical poses – it teaches us about ourselves.
Neeta’s identity and integrity as a teacher shined through. She was not interested in us rushing to the complete final pose, but demanded our attention on the process, on the experience of the pose. She was trying to get us to touch our true selves, by peeling back the layers of being from outside in, and then integrating from inside out. She worked tirelessly to see that each student had the particular action of the pose right.
Many of the poses we did were simple, what we would consider beginning poses. But she wanted us to have the “experience” of the pose where the mind was not leading the way. In that way, we could see that even the most basic pose was in fact extremely difficult.
Another theme of the workshop was to let the yoga prop be a guru. Guru roughly translates as teacher, or as someone who removes darkness. Neeta suggested that instead of having props be crutches, that the prop act as a guru for us. The wall, a block, the floor could all be teachers, enlightening us about the pose at hand, and ultimately ourselves.
We hope to have Neeta come back to teach us again soon. Thank you Neeta, for taking us further down the path of yoga.