This past spring I had the opportunity to practice with Meghan Currie. She is one of my biggest inspirations, and her class did not disappoint. She lead a beautiful, creative flow infused with mystical philosophy and distinct cueing. Days later, I was still digesting the experience. I gained much from practicing with her. One thing I observed (and this is NOT a criticism) was that she did the whole practice with us and did not offer any assists.
It was interesting to me because as a teacher, I often think silly thoughts like, "Oh I better make sure everyone gets an an assist in class otherwise they might not come back". And I'm the kind of teacher that mainly walks around the room while I teach. After Meghan I was reminded that there is no right or wrong way teach. Class with her was nothing short of amazing even though she didn't touch her students.
Contrast Meghan with Raghunath Cappo, who I had the chance to practice with last month. He was just as inspiring, offering a powerful message of living in service and gratitude, and teaching a simple yet challenging class. He did offer assists and they were heading towards aggressive (again, not a criticism, just an observation). When I assist a student, I attempt to enhance their experience. I want the assist to feel good so they can find deeper release. Raghu's assists were abrupt and forceful (pressing down on the backs of my hips until my shins touched my forehead in lotus shoulderstand).
Meghan's class was full of flowery, poetic language, sweet, encouraging cues and no assists. Raghu's class was straightforward, black and white, do this, do that, here let me push your shins to your forehead. They couldn't have been more different. But rather than opposing, they were more like yin/yang, complimentary... each offering a little nugget of the bigger picture.
After Raghu, it was even more apparent that there is no one right way to teach yoga. Imagine if Meghan tried to imitate Raghu, or Raghu tried to imitate Meghan? If one of them had listened to a thought chain of insecurity and changed to fit some false ideal? Thankfully, they both teach from the heart, they offer something authentic. That's why they are so different, because they are true to themselves.
It's sweet reminder. Teacher-self, stay true to your authentic offering. Student-self, keep collecting nuggets.