For a week, I scheduled ‘do nothing’ time into my daily calendar. The week was a calm success. I got chores done without stress—often without noticing! Another really interesting thing about this whole experiment happened during a weekend-long workshop, twelve hours split over two days. Normally I really push myself to perform and I won’t shut up and let other people have center stage. I feel I need to have center stage myself. I really decided that during this weekend of teacher training I didn’t need to say anything. The woman running it, who is a world-famous yoga teacher, said, “You don’t have to teach if you don’t want to.” So I didn’t. I decided to let other people teach, and I listened as a student. I learned, and absorbed.
I did this very consciously. It worked out very well. I raised my hand and spoke three times over two days, and otherwise I simply participated. It was a really wonderful experience.
One of the things I have been struggling with is what path to pursue as a teacher. I was able to talk with my mentor at the end of the weekend and talk about this. I explained that I am thinking I don’t want to pursue the intensity of the assessment track at this point. I’m not closing it down as a future option, but it’s not right for now. I am really enjoying working with restorative yoga, a more meditative approach.
She was delighted! This was a very gratifying reaction. She said I have to follow my own path and my own heart, and if I teach from my heart I won’t go wrong. The whole exchange took a few minutes, but I have been thinking about it for months.
I feel like the time I’ve had to reflect and not do, the meditation practice I’ve been working with, and generally trying to be so much less goal-driven has started to pay off. I could wait for my moment and then frame my point, and say what I needed to say more clearly than I have in the past.
It feels like the way scientists describe the Eureka! Moment—like Archimedes in the bath. Instead of worrying at the problem like the proverbial dog and bone, you stop and lay down the problem, move on to other things and let the brain go into a flow state of being. Then the solution comes to go in a moment of insight. You get out of your own way. My relaxation experiment has so far been a great success on this front as well.
- Tristan Boyer Binns
Tristan Boyer Binns is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. She teaches in Newtonville, MA, and loves the slightly dreamy, unfocused look students have coming out of Savasana. When people have that look and also a buzz of energy in their hearts and limbs, she knows the class has been a good one!