How close should we get to our students? I think every Yoga Teacher asks this question time and time again. How can we be compassionate, caring, involved and available to each and every one of the lives we touch in our Yoga classes? I am sorry to say that I don’t have the answer. I struggle with this issue, as I am sure many of you do.
Here are some thoughts on the subject.
When we teach to a population of elders, injured, those with chronic illnesses or who are physically limited in any way… there are always complications that arise. For me, I have students who take a fall, get a sad diagnosis, have a stroke or heart attack, move away to be with relatives, or …. pass away. Sometimes I get to say good-byes… and sometimes I don’t. I have gone to Memorials, visited my students in Rehab facilities, worked with family members on care issues, and participated in birthday parties. But I find myself always judging myself that I can, and should, do more for them outside of my Yoga teaching.
- Where do we draw the line of getting involved in each and every one of their lives?
- How do we decide where we go that extra mile or where we maintain a distance?
- How much do we continue to judge ourselves on our capacity for service and compassion and never feel we measure up?
There is no black and white answer. But, I do know that many Yoga teachers are often described as “empaths”. (def. empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others.)
All I know is that we must put on our oxygen masks first and foremost. If you are feeling drained, burnt out and/or highly emotional and sensitive. Step back and view where you are spending your precious energy and life force. Beyond that… we all must walk this tightrope in our own unique way. Glad to be on the path with you!
Sherry (and Justine)