I recently taught a class where some students came up to me afterwards and told me it was too slow for them, and that they wanted a more rigorous “workout”. For a moment, I was bummed, and my ego with the label “yoga teacher” was a bit bruised.
A couple days later, I asked myself to identify my criteria for success as a yoga teacher. I surprised myself by saying out loud, “I want to fail. I want to fail fast.” That is to say, I want to receive a lot of feedback as early as possible, both negative and positive, so that I can hone my teaching style and keep improving as a teacher.
Of course, I don’t mean to say I want to *be* a failure. In software, there is a method called Agile Development, which encourages rapid and frequent releases, and subsequently, adaptation for making the next release better or more aligned with what everyone wants. The iteration process is the difference between failing and being a failure.
So, if you’re a yoga student, talk to your teacher, start a conversation, seek to understand what they are trying to teach you, and explain to them your needs. If you’re a yoga teacher, especially if you are new to teaching, just keep doing it, take your students’ constructive feedback into consideration, and you are always in the position to reject destructive criticism.
“What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning – and some of them many times over – what do you find? That you can swim? Well – life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live!”