Last month I was fortunate enough, once again, to attend the Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival in Lake Tahoe. I loved and appreciated the experience of being a student and learning from some great teachers. It got me thinking about the importance of being a student. My business would never be where it is if I didn’t strive to remain a student. There are so many amazing teachers all around me and I find that by experiencing their classes and lessons, I get better. Sometimes it improves my teaching and sometimes it helps me improve my personal, everyday life.
Anyone can be your teacher. When my 9-year old daughter, Nicolette, makes mistakes, she says, “mistakes = information.” This valuable lesson is so true and I think about it often. Another of my favorite teachers is my friend Mindy. She says, “I have no problem making mistakes, I just want to make sure I only make new ones.” Both of these ideas help me to feel legitimately better when I do make mistakes both as a teacher and a student.
I learn something in every class I take. Whether it’s dance, hula hooping (yes, I went to a hula hooping class recently!), yoga, cooking, music together or mommy and me gymnastics. Sometimes I just get to laugh, but oftentimes I hear an amazing cue, learn a new movement, feel something in my body deeper than I ever have, make a friend, hear something that makes me feel bright, or realize something that helps me be a better, more thoughtful person. Even though it’s often tough to prioritize time away from family and business, I always try to make time to be a student. It’s these experiences that help me continue to personally expand which is important not only for me, but for my family and my business as well.
During my three days at Wanderlust I took 9 classes from 6 different Teachers and I learned something from each of them. John Friend, the founder of Anusara yoga, stressed proper sequencing as “attitude, alignment, action” a progression that is useful to remember in both class and life. Nikki Costello, an Iyengar teacher from New York, really drove home the stability and expansion required for correct spinal rotations. Amy Ippoliti, an Aunsara teacher from Boulder, concentrated on using your practice to enhance your life out of the studio and in your daily interactions, which is something that we feel strongly about at the Dailey Method as well. I was also encouraged to go outside my comfort zone and to safely (and with attention to alignment) try some new things. Drop back backbends and handstands! What a great way to confront fears and push boundaries in a safe environment. This is something I encourage my students to do everyday, so it’s great for me to have the opportunity to push the edge a little too!
I learn something valuable from each teacher I study with (even if I don’t realize it until later!) I love the feeling of being excited to go home and teach and figure out how my new inspiration and knowledge can be forwarded on to my clients and all of the amazing TDM Studio owners (whom are also my teachers). We constantly dance between being a student and a teacher—the two are inextricably bound. Be a better student and it will translate into being a better teacher and vice versa.