Ask a stupid question….

…well, you know the rest.

And yet, I can’t help myself. Perhaps I might stress that this next one is rhetorical: Is it really true that if I want the next pose, then my teacher will withhold it from me to teach me a lesson about ego, attachment, what yoga about, whatever?

And by rhetorical, I mean, I don’t care what the answer is.

You see, it really doesn’t matter what the answer is because if any teacher of mine ever tried to pull that crap on me, I would be out of there as fast as you can say “self-respect” or, faster still, “ego”.

I’m not a big fan of the tough love approach to learning. Perhaps it has its place sometimes. But I have never in my life, as a lawyer training junior lawyers, as a mother teaching her younguns, as a yoga teacher teaching her students, or otherwise, found that the ego-busting, humble-pie-eating model of teaching does much of anything besides turn the student off.

Nor do I believe that my own teacher withholds poses for the purpose of breaking the ego or teaching about patience. Whenever I have mastered a pose, I have promptly been moved on to the next. My failure to move through the Primary Series faster is purely a function of my lack of joint mobility. It is not due to a failure to practice, or an excess of practice. It is not due to an overblown ego, nor is it due to a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. It is a function of where my body is at due to where my body has been. No one is holding me back. And no one is pushing me. I am simply learning the poses, one at a time until I master them, and then, I will receive the next. Or so my experience shows.

My own experience is my only evidence, but heck, that’s good enough for me. Frankly, it doesn’t much matter to me if Sir withheld a pose from you or kept you from practicing Second or Third. And by you, I mean, not me.

I am a human in the year 2006 in a country where “I want” is often followed by “so I will get”, in a city where “I want” seems to know no bounds. I am an adult who was raised by parents who taught me that I could do just about anything I wanted to do as long as I worked at it. And I learned to be proud of my accomplishments and to long for accomplishment. If anyone tried to impede my progress in yoga just to teach me to feel less attached to accomplishment, just to stomp on my ego, just to teach me some kind of a yoga lesson, that would be tantamount to a betrayal. My assumption is that I am in the shala to learn yoga, not to be beaten to an emotional pulp.

I signed up for Ashtanga, not E.S.T.

I look forward to experiencing some hardwon pride over my physical improvements in yoga and to putting them in perspective in my own head through my study of yoga, not through the sadistic countertransference of some yoga teacher, who I imagine doesn’t really exist except in the transference of some angry, paranoid, disgruntled former student.

YC

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