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At the end of a TCTSY class a participant asked me, “So you are a yoga teacher, right? What should we call you? Sensei?”
I thought to myself, somehow this person got the impression that he and I were not equal. I said to him, “Actually, for Trauma Sensitive Yoga, I’m not a teacher but a facilitator of the practice.”
He responded, “But don’t you know something that I don’t know, and aren’t you teaching me these things?”
I said, “I’m so glad you have brought this up. You are raising an important question. How can I possibly know your body better than you do? I don’t live in your body. You are the expert when it comes to your own body. I’m just facilitating an experience that gives you an opportunity to explore what you are noticing in your own body.”
I could sense a shift in his posture and a kind of releasing of the idea that I’m a hero or a “sensei.” He expressed his appreciation for the clarification, and I could sense that he appreciated the empowerment when I said, “your own body is your best teacher, not something that I can say or do.”
This was an essential reminder to me that people will often project on to me ideas that I don’t have of myself, and that impede them from doing their own practice. If someone is trying to live up to what I’m doing, or copy what I’m doing, then they are probably not noticing what’s the signals from their own body. They may be so focused on trying to “do it right” that they miss what their body is trying to teach them.
I was appreciative of this class participant for bringing this point to my attention, and for the opportunity to clarify what TCTSY is about. At the end of our conversation I could feel a shift in my own body in the conscious sharing of power that took place.