Damn Dogma……you don’t belong here.
Definition of DOGMA: prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group; a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle.
Lately I have noticed new yoga teachers and experienced yoga teachers too, leading from a place of “what you can’t do” instead of taking a stand or speaking from a place of “what you can do”. You see, that is a little tricky to pick up on. Especially if your teacher training or the yoga studio you have been steeped in gives a lot of focus on all the things you “shouldn’t do”, “shouldn’t say”, “shouldn’t teach”, “shouldn’t practice” “what a particular yogi acts like". You don’t even realize when you stand in front of your students and say “What is possible right now? Don’t lose your power and don’t doubt yourself”….. your actually bringing to the surface all those exact things. You are asking your student to focus on what they don’t want instead of what they do want. Hence, they will get what they focus on. You will be a yoga teacher afraid of expressing who you are to your core, because all your “DON’TS” stand in the way. You create a false sense of Yogi’s in yourcommunity.
When I am leading a class of students and I want them to lift their leg higher, I say “Lift your leg higher”. When I take a class and a teacher says “don’t drop your leg”, I only focus on not dropping it, not the possibility of how much higher it can go. When I am mentoring a yoga teacher to teach in the SHINE Power Yoga Studios, I ask them a lot of questions, a lot of self inquiry as to why they aren’t doing certain things….like looking their students in the eye when assisting them. Consistently I hear the words “I was told not to make a student uncomfortable, I was told not to be creepy, I was told not to use soft lingering fingers that are creepy”. So I always say “what do you WANT TO DO?” I don’t care about what you think you shouldn’t do, because that is leading your teaching right now and taking you out. It gets in the middle of you and your students. What do you WANT?!?!?!?!?! They always say, “I want to connect, I want to be helpful, I want to see the student rock a pose”. Then you have to assist and teach from THAT PLACE and that place only. Look at their body, look at their face & smile, say what you want them to do.
I wrote the vision for SHINE Power Yoga two months ago. The most powerful part of the vision when I read it to my teachers and staff is “SHINE will never operate from Dogma and Fear”. How can we hold true to that if we as teachers are worried about every single thing we say, feel, do, practice? Recently one of my Mentees was really stuck in the process. I had to dive deep to the root of it. She told me her new way of being, it didn’t fit. I asked her what her mask was (teacher training term), that also didn’t fit. Finally I said “What is in the way …. why are you hiding”. She went home and read her teacher training journal, again it didn’t fit.
FINALLY she called her best friend and told her what was going on. The best friend said “you just aren’t being you, you are more focused on what you shouldn’t be doing and being wrong and getting in trouble. Someone, somewhere expected yogis to be a certain way, act a certain way, teach a certain way”. AH-HA!!!! DOGMA at its finest rearing it’s ugly head. Here was her focus: Don’t use inessential language, don’t give too many cues, don’t use creepy fingers, don’t look at the student, don’t pace, don’t speak soft, don’t don’t don’t. You get what you focus on….period, end of story. You manifest whatever is at the top of your thoughts. If you focus on what not to do instead of tools of success, you will fail. Just the way Dogma works.
I had her re-write from what she CAN and WILL do from now on. It looked amazing and powerful and can I say we all ended up giving our middle finger to the sky (in triangle pose) in honor or her fear and self-doubt. I also got a “Rock Star, Bad Ass, Authentic” yoga teacher out of the process.
So now let’s take this off the mat….. Where is Dogma ruling you? Last week I asked my husband if he could do a few of things around the house. He immediately told me three things he didn’t have time to do. I laughed and said “Honey, so tell me what you can do and let’s go from there”. A shift into something positive instead of a big argument and me calling him an ass. The shift was immediate and really good. I have challenged myself in 2015 (my year of turning fabulously 50) to operate from Power and Possibility and the only way to do that is to leave behind Dogma & Fear. I don’t care what I CAN'T teach a student, I focus on what I CAN teach them right now today every time I step into the yoga studio. SHINE Power Yoga is vibrant, alive, growing and fun. I only focus on that…..no room for whether the rest of the yoga community approves or not. You see, I make the rules and I say you CAN have it all.
Where is this showing up for you today? Yoga studio, Work, Family, Church? God says “You Shall not Lie” meaning in his eyes he sees you through grace and love and not the lie. It isn’t a command on what not to do…..it is a declaration on who you are not. When you let go of the Dogma around all the “rules and regulations” to live by and just show up as you are…..I bet happiness follows very quickly.