Interesting exercise at teacher training this weekend wherein we practiced taught in trios – one person teaching, one person the student, and one as the ‘inner teacher.’ Granted, at first there was definitely some confusion and eye-rolling. The whole thing seemed a bit oddball and contrived. We were instructed to teach for a bit, pause and then ask our inner teacher whatever question came to mind (something like ‘have I instructed this right?’ ‘can I do anything better?’ ‘am I a total failure as a human being?’ to which someone would answer ‘yes’ ‘maybe’ and ‘yes?’).
But the snarkiness and judgment was soon met by a very productive exercise.
As I taught (and really this can apply to anything – not just yoga teaching) I allowed myself to pause. And in that moment there were all the negative voices of ‘you can’t do this’ ‘that’s wrong’ ‘you haven’t done it right’ etc etc that we all encounter in someway or another unless we’re some ego maniac with indefatigable self esteem. However, pausing within this moment of doubt and turning the self-criticism into productive questioning allowed the moment to become a chance for self-improvement and reflection rather than negativity. In this moment I could question my inner teacher. I could acknowledge my doubt, dive into it, and either dismiss it or correct the problem. I wasn’t running scared, avoiding, or identifying with it and allowing it to effect my mood. I simply dealt with it minus the judgment and mania. My inner teacher, gifted with knowledge from all the wonderful teachers I’ve encountered in my life is one to be trusted. My inner teacher may have the answers for me. Not always right, sometimes forgetful, but always there and worth asking. Much better than just sitting awkwardly in doubt and self-criticism. Fire the inner critic and find your inner teacher.
So whatever you do with your day that you care about, take those moments to pause, acknowledge the doubt and questioning and face it head on – see what your inner teacher has to say – and listen!