Actions Speak

by on March 19, 2012 · 0 comments

in Thoughts on Teaching

I have been edging my way into teaching yoga after having my Yoga Alliance certifications for more than a year. I started with private coaching here and there and occasionally substituting for one of my teachers.  The availability has not been there for me to teach regular classes because of my work schedule and family obligations. Recently, I decided to start writing more often and providing my perspective on yoga, philosophy and meditation with the hopes of it serving those who subscribe to my blog. I had a chance to discuss this with one of my teachers recently, and I’m grateful that we had the opportunity for the conversation.

Upon realizing that I was grappling with the desire to serve others through teaching, she reminded me that as yogis, our practice can be a service to others. This may be something that’s difficult to see initially, but over time, it becomes more apparent in numerous ways. When I began practicing yoga diligently, people started to inquire about there being “something different” about me. Even my parents noticed something, but couldn’t put their finger on it. I was intrigued by this because the transformations were so subtle that I didn’t even notice. I was not aware of it at the time, but this positive change in my personality was a service to those around me.  My interaction with people had taken on a softer approach. I had become more accepting of others through discovering acceptance of myself through my practice. These were the first memories I recalled during the conversation with my teacher. It was a reminder that I had visited these epiphanies before, but the perspective she offered was new.  She conveyed that as a student, my practice is my service to others, on the mat and off.


This really opened my eyes to rethink the experiences of sharing space with students I admire. I realized that I too have experienced learning through others by witnessing their practice. Sometimes just by watching another person perform an asana, I pick up on subtle cues that I apply to my own method.  Reflecting on this made me realize our words can only serve to a certain extent but our practice can serve as the ultimate statement of our principles.   Our words can even be misinterpreted where they do not serve at all, but the results of a practice are unmistakable. Words, though sometimes effective, are only symbols representing the experience while our practice is the heart of the experience where knowledge is put into action. Your practice speaks for itself to your teachers and to the students around you and when you take your practice off the mat, it speaks to those you come in contact with. We lead by example even when we have no intention of doing so. Consider this when you contemplate how you serve others because your actions may be a better teacher than your words.

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