By Savitree Kaur
Many years ago, I worked with a piano teacher who guided me in knowing how to shape (create the tone, or story, for) the music I was practicing. She would offer me a way to look into myself, to find the story, and I would sit for a moment, and then I would play. She’d say, “That’s it! What did you do?” And I would say, “I don’t know. I just did.”
I believe that I got there spontaneously because she did not interpret the music for me, rather she helped me tap into my own, and my body was able to create it before my mind could catch up to how to do it.
Teaching technique (the tools) is simple enough. To help shape—find voice for it—can be tricky. My voice, my interpretation, is my own. Everyone else has their own, and what they come to class for is to find their voice, their own space, the Teacher within. There is no space for my interpretation in that.
While this—putting the ego aside—can be a difficult task, the beauty in it is that the work is not on me, but between God and the student. I become merely the deliverer.
I guide my students into simply staying present with themselves and the task at hand—paying attention to their current experience and what comes up in the process, finding a way to keep up as they challenge themselves, and at the same time know and honor their current capacities.
I am there to create a safe and elevated space and to encourage them to focus on their strengths and to keep up.
When I transform emotion into devotion, when I connect to the Teacher within rather than to the urgency of the day, and see God in each person in the room, this puts agendas aside and allows me to teach to a higher consciousness. It helps me to hold a much stronger space for them, to elevate and help them to see what they need to see rather than what I may need them to see. When they see what they need to see, they shift, find insight, and are more ready to own their experiences.
When I make the mistake of having them see what I need them to see, I walk away feeling that I have failed them, as well as myself. They might have resonated with what I was sharing, but it wasn’t what they came for; they can find plenty of that on social media.
What they came for was to find the Teacher within.
“When you teach, you have only one privilege: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. That's it. After that, whatever you have remembered, seen and experienced, just share.”
-Yogi Bhajan, April 26, 1997
I love this quote because it reminds me to keep it all very simple. It reminds me that I do not have to work so hard at this, and to deliver just what I know. It reminds me that it is all there, within.
Savitree Kaur, E-RYT and KRI certified, is co-founder of Urban Yoga Chicago, a Kundalini Yoga, meditation and wellness center in South Evanston, IL, where they offer Kundalini Yoga classes, individual sessions, meditation courses for adults and children, and Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training featuring lead trainer Gurudass Kaur. Savitree’s strength is in helping individuals customize their meditation practice to serve their highest goals. She is also mom to two beautiful teenaged children. For more, see SavitreeKaur.com, UrbanYogaChicago.org andBlissfulAreWe.com.