Psychologically Sound Teaching Tip: Create Safety.

Learning happens most readily when one feels safely challenged.

When you are on high alert your brain is not able to do much else except for being vigilant to any potential (whether perceived or actual) threat.

But it's yoga you say.
How could one feel unsafe in yoga--through yoga?
Ha! You would be surprised.

Firstly, plenty of shapes and actions for the body are far out of one's comfort zone. Think of someone whose body was injured and they are relearning how to move in new ways.

Secondly, not all students live lives of safety off the mat. Lives whether we want to believe it or not, are indeed brought onto the mat. You can not extricate a yogi from their cultural context.

Thirdly, what about the yelling? Or the harshness? Or the loudness of the music? What about if a teacher is more demanding? Or if a teacher is rather shy and quiet. All these could be challenging for a student and their guard will go up.

Now, safety is not about soothe-saying or merely stroking the cat as the euphemism goes. It is not about micromanaging experiences and creating bubbles of love and light.

Because really, shit happens. In yoga. And not in yoga. But creating a field of safety through presencing oneself, through appropriate verbal and non verbal contact, through clear articulation and attunment, through honesty--these all make a tremendous difference.

Safety involves seeing, hearing, being in your wellness and wholeness. It is about adjusting as necessary to the changing and variable pulses of the room.

As a teacher, keep asking yourself is this space safe for all the students here?How will I know?Ask yourself, if you feel safe? Observe the degree to which your students seem to be receiving and implementing the teachings you place on the table. Why or why not is it being absorbed.

Safety is also about nurturing and tilling the soil within. It involves perceiving our own tendencies and patterns, being radical with boundaries and a willingness to be held even when are resisting.

As a student, please track exactly, and I mean exactly what safety feels like in your body. What is the texture and exact quality of being relaxed and alert in your own skin. This is the prime manner in which to receive teachings. When you do not feel safe in the context of your yoga class you can ask yourself if this is a feeling being created within the room right now? is this an ld story or pattern? what is real and not real? trust the answer that comes your way.

Safety, I tell ya.
Key doorway for learning.
Lets meet in the field there.


Livia Shapiro