It is difficult to express the power of the group energy we felt on the first evening of the teachers conference in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and how deeply that energy touched our hearts and melted them together. Friday night, we chanted together with such joy and freedom that our spirits soared even before I spoke.I talked about the qualities of a Yoga teacher, especially the need to practice humility, to see ourselves as students who are also learning. This way, we do not separate ourselves from our students or diminish them by seeing ourselves above them. Instead, we can offer them our love and respect, and support them to grow in their own time, free of judgement and anxiety. We can serve them without seeking approval or recognition, and focus their attention on the internal experience of their practice.
Humility also inspires us to acknowledge the need for a committed personal practice in order to become clearer instruments of the teachings. It beckons us to accept responsibility for our suffering rather than blaming anyone else, and recognize the need to look deeply into ourselves to see how our pain has manifest from a selfish attitude or attachment.
We ended the evening by contemplating some profound wisdom expressed in a few lines of a beautiful poem called Odd Luck, by Rosemerry Trommer:
And if you are lucky in this life,
your heart will break, not just tiny cracks,
but huge fractures, wide enough
for a hippopotamus to swim through,
high enough for a hawk to circle inside.
Then, the heart can no longer believe
it is separate, beating only for itself.
That is when we know we are really practicing and teaching Yoga–when we can no longer think our hearts beat only for ourselves.