From the outside looking in, it may seem obvious that the teacher in the classes at Temple is the instructor that is guiding the session. Surely, this person that is leading is the teacher, right? Well, yes… and no.
It really depends on how we wish to define the term ‘teacher’. To me, a teacher is the motivating, inspiring, challenging force that enables us to learn. Sure, at times as the instructor of the group, I am a teacher, but my skills at teaching pale in comparison to the offerings of the true teachers we have invited in to Temple classes.
Sound is one of your teachers at Temple. In our Dynamic Core Movement classes (also fondly known as Ninja Training between our group participants), the invitation for us to move silently and softly encourages us to develop finely tuned skills in the contact with surfaces. If you’re making a lot of noise with thumping feet or hands slapping on surfaces, then there is a clear demonstration of an opportunity for skill improvement. Try walking normally versus silently and notice the difference in the amount of attention required.
Pain is also your teacher at Temple. And a powerful teacher it is. The old ‘No Pain, No Gain’ idea has hopefully been laid to rest in the world of physical training, as that pain signal from any part of your body is a clear and strong message to stop whatever it is you are doing! I prefer the amended version of this statement; Pain = No Gain. This very intimate internal message is one that the student alone has direct access to. No matter how astute the instructor is or how keenly they are observing, they will never be able to gauge that precise moment that injury is imminent. However, the nociceptors in the body can, and will give us that clear message of pain so we can stop before the harm is done.
Grace is the third teacher at Temple. Can you make your movement more beautiful? Is it possible for the movement to be smoother, sharper, straighter, curvier, tighter, slower, faster or simply more graceful? Dancers are wonderful examples of the study of Grace. I have heard it said that a dance is only as beautiful as the experience of the witness observing it. When moving, is it possible to make that movement more appealing to the eyes of the outside observer? Inviting this particular teacher in to my own movement practice has yielded so much amazing insight into the ways I was limiting the expression of my movement. As Grace becomes more and more present in my movements, I notice I am able to let go more and more deeply into the joys of flowing with movement.
The final teacher, and the overseer of all the other teachers is YOU. You are the one that is moving, the one that is listening, the one that is choosing to do, be and create the movement in your body. This awareness within you of all other teachers is the Supreme Teacher. Claiming the responsibility of being the director of your body’s play is fundamental to the path of movement mastery. When we choose to engage, to push, to sit-out, to rest, to go deeper or any other choice that is made in response to these other teachers, including the instructor, then we are empowered to navigate toward our movement goals most efficiently. Only you have the sensitivity to know the perfect balance point of doing and non-doing, of edges and graceful flow.
When you step into our Ninja Training, you step into a relationship with yourself about movement. May these teachers all be with you on your journey!