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The Multi-Tasking Yoga Teacher

Original Piece by Avani | 2016

There is a lot of pressure on yoga teachers to be juggling many skills: all star communicators, anatomy and physiology pros, committed practitioners, always kind, compassionate and available, skilled at hands on touch, present with ever breath…you get the picture.  It may seem overwhelming  to consider how you can focus on clear, concise cueing, observe you students, move through the space AND add hands-on touch.  The important skill in all of this is to approach each element with singular focus.  As you begin to feel more and more comfortable getting off your mat, see how it goes to add in just one assist (say, downward facing dog).  See how that goes.  Once that becomes very fluid, add the next piece.  How would you feel to move off your mat, offer a down dog assist AND add in a breath cue? 

What’s most important is that nothing is forced.  Forcing the appearance of the elusive “I’ve got it all under control” yoga-teacher-magic-maker can come across as inauthentic or really break into your flow.  Be compassionate with yourself and layer on pieces one at a time and ONLY as you feel 100% ready for it.  Renowned meditation and mindfulness coach, Sharon Salzberg compares the addiction to forced multi-tasking to “the rush you might feel while playing the slot machines in a casino. Stimulated and entertained by the flashing lights, the ringing bells, and the distracting, carnival-like atmosphere, gamblers go into a pleasure trance, addicted to the illusion of winning money when, in fact, they’re going broke.”  The key to successfully multi-tasking is that you’ll get there at your own pace and organically which ensures you it won’t feel like you’re “going broke” while distracted by all the flashy lights.   Salzberg sites that studies have shown that “when people are interrupted and have to switch their attention back and forth, they take—on average—50 percent longer to accomplish the task and make up to 50 percent more errors.”  When all of the pieces come together due to your commitment to practice and patience, it will begin to feel less like an interrupted, erratic switch back and forth in your mind and more like riding the way of your very own, honed and developed expertise. 

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