Wow, what a question?!?!?! I was asked this after teaching the community yoga class last night at lululemon in Arlington, VA (Clarendon).
The main foundation for my teaching is Baron Baptiste. Of course, Baron and the Baptiste community inspires me but I only get the opportunity to study with him and other Baptisters (I just made this term up!) once a year. And unfortunately I don’t have a teacher (aka someone I can call my guru) that I study with on a weekly or monthly basis.
To keep my personal yoga practice alive, I tend to bounce around studios in the DC area primarily unrolling my yoga mat at Down Dog (Georgetown), Flow Yoga (DC) and lately, Pure Prana (Alexandria, VA). Each studio has something to offer as does each teacher. I dabble in Jivamukti when I’m craving a more spiritual flow. I practice Iyengar and Ashtanga when I need a good kick in the tush. I hit Down Dog regularly for the sweaty vinyasa flow. When I can’t make it to the studio, I unroll my mat and follow my heart with my own home practice.
Regardless of where my mat lands, I keep an open mind as every teacher has something to offer. And this holds true for when I teach as well. The reality is everyone – including my students – has something to offer. Yes, many times I get my biggest inspiration from my students. One reason I don’t practice while I teach is so I can be completely present with them. I breathe with them. I look at their faces and overall bodies for energetic cues as to where I can give them the best guidance in that moment. I encourage questions (Malasana is a pose I usually guide students into and then ask if there are any questions). I’m inspired by the questions they ask, even the funny ones (i.e. how long are we going to be in Malasana?).
So who inspires my teaching? Sorry I don’t have a clear answer. There really isn’t just one person. I can’t say it enough…everyone has something unique to offer and so many people have taught me so much. I guess I’ve learned (and continue to learn) to keep an open mind, listen to others (through both verbal and non-verbal cues) and just be the best I can be in the moment. Life’s best lessons and inspirations are often in disguise.
Caroline, Again sorry I don’t have a clear answer. Without even knowing it, your question “who inspires you?” inspired me to write this blog post. Thanks!