A yoga teacher once told me, “All the yoga poses already live inside you.” I don’t know if she said this to every student, or she said it just to me, but I took it personally, and it made me feel totally empowered to practice yoga. Yoga already belonged to me, it was already alive inside of me, and learning yoga would be a practice of unlocking these secrets versus adopting something alien.
I think this was the most helpful thing a movement teacher has ever said to me.
I think about all the times when Alexander Technique teachers, in their efforts to be helpful, pointed out that I had very tight legs, or I must be a dancer because my back was so arched, or my lumbar lordosis was my “bête noire,” and I’m sure they were trying to be helpful, but all I felt was shame.
And I think about all the times that I as an Alexander Technique teacher have said, your upper back is very tight, or your ankle is rolling inward, thinking that in some way my clever diagnosis was providing the student with helpful information, but was probably causing the same shame that I felt for all my flaws that I didn’t know how to change (and maybe didn’t need to change).
I think about how I have learned to receive feedback as data and not take it personally, and how that is a big growth curve, and that being able to see things clearly without spin is so useful – but it has taken years to get there.
But still, the most helpful thing was to be told the truth: All of this goodness is already alive inside of you.
P.S. In case you are curious that yoga teacher was Dina Amsterdam and she still teaches in the SF Bay Area.
P.P.S. And, If you are student of the Alexander Technique, trust that all that freedom and ease that you taste in lessons already lives inside of you.