After years of avoiding yoga due to a severe back injury sustained during my early experiences with yoga, I decided this morning to watch some sun salutations for beginners on YouTube. Extraordinary! So many practitioners and the range from excellent instruction to poor instruction became so immediately obvious and concerning to me.
There are the instructors who have beautiful bodies and know how to do it themselves but have no idea how to impart the knowledge to a novice. There are the athletic practitioners who don’t mention the inner qualities of yoga or even breathing. There are the instructors who work in conference rooms, some in expensive private studios, some in the out of doors and others in their own homes.
What is clear is how many people decided to teach it because perhaps they love it but who are not good teachers at all. They believe they are teaching (or perhaps they are simply exhibitionists who like making YouTube videos) but they are actually just reflecting the superficial qualities of yoga practice.
I couldn’t help but make the analogy to Meisner instructors. So many people claiming to teach it who only present the superficial “appearance” of doing Meisner without having any clear understanding themselves of what something as simple as repetition is all about – forget about the advanced levels of Meisner training.
Once something becomes a fad everyone wants to make money off of it and most have no idea why they too shouldn’t be teaching it. Here’s why. You don’t know what you’re doing! You’re trying to imitate something you’ve seen without having the substance, the core, the expertise to know what you’re doing. You may not have even been great at it yourself.
When something works everyone wants a piece of the action. So it’s no surprise that in a ten-year period the world went from having a few extraordinary Meisner teachers to having thousands of third-rate copycats. I get it. Everyone wants to be a part of what is working. And that is why we see so many people saying they teach yoga and so many people saying they teach Meisner. (I know actors who were dismissed by Sandy who insist that they are true teachers of the approach because they studied with him. Ridiculous!)
So I’m going to continue to do my due diligence and watch and investigate and consider and make a thoughtful and informed decision about how and with whom I am going to study yoga with the second time around.