In the last few months, there were hundreds of blog views coming from the search word “Feedback for yoga teachers”.
Looking at the pandemic lockdown and social distancing situation, it’s normal that many yoga teachers who used to conduct yoga classes to be making a living would move their classes onto the online social media platform. And hence, as the ‘new normal’, there are now many online (guided) yoga classes.
Personally, I neither encourage/support nor discourage/unsupport ‘the old normal’ yoga classes, or ‘the new normal’ online yoga classes, as it’s everyone’s freedom for what they do and don’t do, even though I myself am not interested in conducting ‘yoga classes’ in the past, not to say to be conducting ‘online yoga classes’ in the present. In the world of capitalism and consumerism, if there’s a demand requesting certain service and product, and there will be somebody offering the service and product, especially if people are interested in learning to do some yoga exercises as a healthy leisure activity, it’s something very good for the society to have ‘yoga classes’ or ‘online yoga classes’.
First of all, it’s a new thing for both the ‘yoga teachers’ and the ‘yoga students’. The process of teaching and learning yoga (asana) practice in a physical present yoga class is no doubt being quite different from teaching and learning yoga (asana) practice via online yoga class.
The teacher can’t be paying attention to many students at the same time in physical present yoga classes, not to say in online yoga class, where there’s a rather small computer screen with many different small windows of the different people joining the ‘online yoga class’. Unless it’s a one to one private yoga practice session, or private online yoga practice session.
Even though, in many of the physical present yoga classes, the yoga students are being advised not to turn/tilt their head to be looking at the teacher or the others while performing most of the yoga asana positions or exercises, as it might cause certain muscular sprain or injury around the neck and shoulder area, but many of the students would still be spontaneously turning/tilting their head while performing many of the yoga asana poses/exercises in order to take a look or glance at the teacher and/or the others under their own different intentions/motivations/reasons for doing that, mostly it’s curiosity, or trying to imitate, or trying to compare, or being unsure/unclear about the practice and being not confident towards one’s performance or execution. Not to say, in the online yoga classes, the entire attention is to be turning the head in a particular angle to be constantly looking at the computer screen, to be following some instructions and imitating the teacher and/or the others to be doing the yoga asana poses or exercises.
Of course, there will be many opinions coming from different participants who want to ‘improve’ their experience on the online yoga class, and want to give feedback/advice/suggestions to the yoga teachers who conduct the online yoga classes, and most of the teachers also welcoming ‘feedback’ from the participants to improve the experience on teaching online classes and to improve the quality of their online classes. Mostly it’s either about the positioning of the camera so that they can have a better view angle to see more clearly towards how the teacher demonstrates the practice/exercise, or something to do with the usage of microphone and volume control, or the pacing/intensity of the particular practice/exercise/routine, or the format and contents of the yoga class, or about the background and the layout of the room use for giving the online class, the impact of the surrounding environment, the music (most commercial yoga classes use music to create certain atmosphere), and etc. It’s all about the whole experience or the mind perception of names and forms of different qualities that are agreeable or disagreeable to the minds of everyone.
Yoga practice is about freeing the mind from such attachment and desire of craving and aversion towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, of what the eyes see, what the ears hear, what the nose smells (in this case, what the participants smell or don’t smell is nothing to do with the yoga teacher or the online yoga class), what the tongue tastes, what the body or skin senses, as well as what the mind experiences, thinks, feels, acts and reacts.
Yoga practice is about dispassion, renunciation, silence, solitude, seclusion, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, self-control, self-discipline, self-reliance, self-inquiry, self-realization, inquiring the truth of names and forms, inquiring the truth of ‘I’, knowing thyself, the elimination of the root cause of suffering – ignorance, egoism and impurities, the annihilation of the modification of the mind, transcending the wheel of birth and death, cause and effect, or attaining liberation or Samadhi. All these has nothing to do with ‘qualified/certified yoga teachers’, ‘yoga teachers certification’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘different brands and styles of yoga school, lineage, practice’, ‘physical ability/disability/limitation’, ‘physical health condition’, ‘worldly condition and situation’, ‘surrounding environment’, ‘proper precise physical alignment while doing the yoga poses/exercises’, ‘yoga props’, ‘yoga mats’, ‘yoga attires and accessories’, ‘yoga scents’, ‘yoga music’, ‘yoga super food’, and etc.
If one is truly teaching or practicing yoga, it’s really not about whether the yoga teacher is good or not good; whether the many different details of the yoga class are good or not good; whether the practice/exercise/routine is good or not good; whether the contents of the yoga class is good or not good; whether the way that the teacher conducts the yoga class is good or not good; whether the instructions are good or not good; whether the result of the teaching, the yoga class and the practice is good or not good; or whether the teaching skill of the yoga teacher is good or not good; not to say, whether the students/participants/somebody’s performance, or execution, or physical alignment is good or not good; whether one’s body and mind feels good or not good, being comfortable or uncomfortable throughout the practice.
It’s about there’s an opportunity where someone is there delivering the teachings and practice of yoga that would lead the minds towards self-realization and liberation from ignorance and suffering, without attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, as well as someone is there receiving, learning and practicing the teachings and practice of yoga without attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to transcend the worldly life existence of a body and mind that is subject to impermanence and selflessness; to transcend the mind perception of qualities, names and forms that are impermanent and selfless; to go beyond duality of good/bad, right/wrong, positive/negative, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, praise/censure, success/failure, heat/cold, pleasantness/unpleasantness, happiness/unhappiness, enjoyable/non-enjoyable, and so on; to go beyond the egoistic likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements based on the worldly conditioned passionate egoistic social/cultural/spiritual/religious/political thinking and belief; to tame the outgoing tendency of the restless mind, turning the mind inward; to be in the present; to quiet, silent and annihilate the modification of the mind; to perform self-inquiry; to free the mind from the veil of ignorance, egoism and impurities; to realize the truth of suffering and the root cause of suffering; to realize selflessness and attain liberation from ‘mind stuff’, or ‘modification of the mind’, or ‘all that related to the mind perception of an impermanent selfless worldly life existence’, or ‘endless suffering deriving from the bondage of birth and death, cause and effect’.
In short, it’s about guiding the minds to be free from ignorance, egoism, impurities and suffering (upmost important), while in the process of doing or not doing some forms of physical and mental practice under many different names, brands, ways or styles (not important at all).
Either through physical present yoga session or online yoga class, whether the teacher is teaching yoga as it is, or not; whether the students of yoga will be learning and practicing yoga as it is, or not; with correct understanding, attitude and mentality or not; and realize yoga, or not, it’s their own effort and responsibility.
Feedback about the quality of the yoga teacher, the venue/environment/background, the technical issues, the teachings, the teaching skill, the interactive skill, the creativity, the charisma, the atmosphere, the yoga class, the practice, the result, or the entire experience, is truly irrelevant in the process of eliminating ignorance, egoism, impurities and suffering in one’s mind, or in the process of letting go/renouncing worldly conditioned passionate egoistic thinking, belief, values, practice, actions, reactions, expectations, desires, aspirations, inspirations, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and etc.