What do you love about teaching yoga history and philosophy, Ben?
Teaching can very much be a mirror to each of us in terms of our own self-understanding and sadhana. It gives us an opportunity to see ourselves within others as we can so often relate to a student’s experience: the commitment, the search, the struggle, the opening, and the relaxation into presence. It is here that teaching affords us not only an act of genuine compassion but an honest experience of the non-dual whole (i.e., we are one).
What are you looking forward to sharing during the YTT Intensive?
Setting the record straight to the extent that I can. There is so much misinformation out there. Yoga needs to be flexible and able to grow and evolve but not at the expense of losing sight of its roots or original intention. At a certain point yoga could no longer be the gift and guide that it was intended to be if we are not conscientious and respectful of our heritage as yoga practitioners. The challenge of course, is for us to balance that with the ways in which yoga must adapt in order to be relevant to modern-day practitioners. Any one who would call him- or herself a yoga teacher will do right by themselves and their students in being very mindful of this balance.
What about your own TT experience surprised you?
Well, I never had what the west would look at as a formalized TT experience. In the Ashtanga tradition (my home tradition) teacher trainings simply are not done. Quite a bit is left to the student in terms of self-study as well as the specific disposition of the teacher; I really lucked out. I was taken on by my teacher as an apprentice and I afforded this gift the necessary respect and effort it was due.
I suppose what surprised me about much of the process, though, was how much my own practice contained essentially all that was needed, it was simply left to my teacher to point as to how to apply so much of what I already knew. This is an important insight; in my experience, there is no substitute for a dedicated, daily practice as a base from which to teach.