I spend a fair bit of time at the institute in classes, the office and the library. I like the slow hum of sitting in the back office, sorting and arranging documents and images into their designated folders. It is a walk down the ages, not just of Iyengar yoga but also of the world at large. Guruji travelled widely and had a huge following from around the world. The institute would receive a lot of correspondence and some of them would include photographs and artwork of places and periods of a world that still lived largely via snail mail. These days, the communication is all instant- e-mail and texts. The accompaniments, if any, are digital and don’t have the same ability to invoke warmth like a photograph in your hands.
Besides those solitary hours, I also attend quite a few classes. Recently, after class, my teacher asked all the teachers and assistants to stay back. I guess I am an apprentice too. But, it brings on a big dose of impostor syndrome. After every class, I think about how much I don’t know. Actually, I don’t even know what I don’t know. Before classes, the small group of teachers and apprentices practise on each other and learn different supports and adjustments. And I realized that observing and actually doing are two widely different things as I adjusted people. It is such a huge responsibility to hold another body that I cannot afford to forget that. I understand my own body but different bodies and their pain is a constant reminder about how little we truly know of another.
While direction and principle of support and help are easy to understand, the actual execution of hands on adjustment is like learning asanas all over again. 🙂 I am reminded of Goldilocks’ porridge as my pressure is more or less or just enough. After the therapy class, I found myself thinking that maybe I wasn’t meant to be there. I don’t know if I have the chops for it. Intent is one but am I really capable? Perhaps, I’m better off with being in my comfort zone of solitary work. As I type, I also realize that I am a rookie and beginnings are like this. Shaky. I should simply stay with the not knowing until things begin to make themselves known.
4 thoughts on “Novice Apprentice”
I find your honesty to be refreshing. Those kleshas can really make us doubt ourselves, or misidentify with what we think we can or cannot do. The fact that you want to empathize with those people you are trying to help/assist is commendable. Their humanity matters. They are not just bodies to be moved around. I suffer from “imposter syndrome” in various ways. When this happens I put my faith in God and do my best to do my dharma. We can not fill another’s role, nor do their dharma. How blessed you are to be at RIYMI, among all of those sacred documents and artifacts. For those of us who live far away, it is a dream.
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Thank you for your words Suzy. Dharma is such a powerful way of looking at this kind of a situation, very aligned than skewed. RIMYI is truly a blessing and I do hope you can get to come soon.
Who DOESN’T suffer from imposter syndrome?
I think it’s because, if I think I am “a TEACHER” I AM an imposter. I am just playing a role at any given time… teacher, student, mom, daughter, sister, friend… who am I really?
As a teacher of yogāsana, I feel most comfortable with this: I am not a repository of esoteric secrets, but rather someone who creates a context within which we can all play/explore/be for a while. Student/teacher/friend/etc – all a fluid continuum…
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Beautiful, wise words as always Kate. Thank you for the reminder about our roles. Continuum… such a wonderful way of looking at one’s place in the scheme of the universe.
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