I’ve been having an ethical dilemma. A teaching dilemma of sorts.

Dilemma 1. Which comes first, yoga teacher or business owner?

Dilemma 2. Should I teach people what they want or what they need?

Dilemma 3. How do I know what they need?  That’s a tad arrogant isn’t it?

Let’s start with dilemma 2. My most useful teaching tool is a spectrum. At one end is flexibility and the other end is strength. If you want a sustainable body you need to straddle the two ends. Plant one foot firmly at each end. Don’t water one down. Don’t let one erode the other. Pay equal attention to both.

What tends to happen is people have both feet at one end, committed entirely to either the strength end or the flexibility end.  At that point all they feel comfortable with and all they crave is to stay at that end. It’s familiar, it’s habitual.

Insert my dilemma. Do I teach them postures that will take them where they want to be, which is more of the same or somehow turn their head to glimpse across at the other end. To take a few tiny steps toward it. Do I give them what they want or what they need?

Now dilemma 1 shows up. They are paying. They should get what they want.

Something random helped me with dilemma 3. I’m doing work placement for uni this semester. I have to plan and execute a competitive event and find a sporting organisation to host it. Unfortunately for me, yoga is in no way competitive and try as I might, I couldn’t manipulate it to fit the competitive criteria. So I came up with another brilliant idea. Found a workplace. Tick.

For my event I needed personal health and statistical information from five professional football players to use as benchmarks. Difficult. Information not available on wiki. Problem.

I got my hands on the direct contact details for the CEO of a football team. I emailed him. I wasn’t rude but I was super direct. I was respectful as I asked for exactly what I wanted. I named the five players and outlined the data I needed. I didn’t sugar-coat it. I didn’t think about what I was likely to get, I just asked for what I wanted.

I got it. I got every single thing. No kidding.

Learning for me. Ask for what I want.

I couldn’t control what I was going to get but I could control what I asked for. Just by putting it out there. So I’m putting it out there for you to think about yoga in the context of want vs need.  Think about where are you on the spectrum? What do you need to get to the middle? Yoga isn’t designed to be comfortable. It’s designed to keep you balanced. To keep one foot firmly planted at each end.

To keep you strong, resilient, dynamic and active enough. To allow you to be soft, bendable, fluid and gracious enough.

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