What is the Core Competency of a Yoga Teacher?

by Amba Stapleton  


Is it how many postures we can do, is it how long we can hold our breath? Is it how successful our yoga classes are. What is it?


Don Stapleton Ph. D., founder of the Nosara Yoga Institute says:

"The Core competency of a yoga educator is the development of Witness Consciousness." "He says our main learning disability is the inability to learn directly from our own experience."


We have lost this ability only by not using it. I also call this the illiteracy of literacy. In the modern world to learn means to learn from a teacher, learn from a book, go to school and the more schooling you have the better, the more you will learn, the smarter you will be, the more successful you will be. This couldn't be farther from the truth, and farther from the learning process.

No one teaches anyone anything.
The students interest, teaches the student.
The teacher at best holds the space for learning, but no learning ever happens outside the students interest.
Not interested, not learning.

Learning requires a whole-body presence. Learning requires the neurons and chemicals in the brain to be activated to create new grooves and be able to connect dots. This chemical reaction is created by interest, passion and "wanting" to know.
Don't want to know, no knowing.

At Nosara Yoga Institute our main mission is to support the development of Witness Consciousness. And what is Witness Consciousness? Don't you mean Mindfulness Amba?


No I mean Witness.
Mindfulness comes from a Buddhist tradition and I am not a Buddhist.
Also words are powerful and the last thing I want to be is Full Of Mind.
My mind is full enough. I want to go past my mind and enter a place that is beyond.
Also the word Mindful reminds me of people saying to small children, "Be mindful of your little sister she's sleeping." So mindful, creates in me a judgment. Oops if I'm not mindful, I am doing something wrong.


I like the word Witness. No mind, no judgment. When I can Witness my experience, I am present to learn something radically new. Everything is radically new when what you are experiencing,( not what you are judging or seeing something from a preconceived prejudicial hallucination,)has an impact on your physical body. Hallucinations don't create change, they just maintain what you already think you know; which is mostly nothing because most of what we learned is no more than what mommy and daddy taught us. When you really learn something you change. The excitation of finding something out or really learning something new, causes your brain chemistry to change; excites the neurons and new neural pathways are created, but the most fun is ....Wow! Knowing you are in direct hook up to all that you need to know, at the exact time you need to know it, is very empowering, very reassuring, and very freeing.


How do you do that? How you get beyond your mind? How do you get beyond your thoughts?
First....You realize every thought you have is usually some kind of judgment. Can you really get beyond your judgments and just see what actually is. Even your good thoughts are no more than judgments.


Here is an example:

I love to use this one in the yoga world, because there is such pride and ego involved in our "Meditation" practice. The thoughts sometimes get nicer and seem more justified when we think what we are doing is so great. So the thoughts can get slippier. So here's one .

You've got yourself all set up for meditation. You have your meditation pillow. You have your little timer. You have your candle and incense burning. All is so great, you are meditating. Then a car drives by. And your thought becomes. Darn, why did that car have to disturb my meditation? I was doing so great. HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. Notice, witness yourself having that thought, in other words create a little space from the thought. Does a car have to disturb your meditation, really? Or did you swallow whole something that someone "taught" you years ago before you were even conscious that you were learning. Did someone years ago complain about traffic noise, and in so doing "taught" you that traffic noise is bad.


Now take a few deep breaths, can you witness that thought that traffic noise is bad and the thought I can't meditate if there is traffic noise. Is that true? It might be true, but it just might not be. Witness Consciousness gives you the ability to check out your current time experience, and make a current time Truth. You are in the drivers seat, where do want to go. Do you want to be a person who can meditate with traffic noise, or do you want to be a person who can't meditate with traffic noise, it is a simple as that.


Shakespeare said:"Nothing is either True of False, but Thinking makes it so."


I know sometimes it is really hard to create a different reality. So I play a little game with myself, just to confirm and add more weight to my new decision that "traffic noise does not have to be disruptive."


Goes like this.
I hear the car going by, I say, what if that car going by is the truck bringing my avocados for the day, what if that car is taking a lady to the hospital to have her baby, what if in that car armored vehicle is the lottery winnings I just won. Whatever,,,....., and I pretend it is. The resistance fades, my heart opens to the experience and all is well. I continue to meditate, no problem.


If you made it thru to the end of this, I am so sorry it got so long. I wanted to just write a short paragraph, on what a Nosara Yoga Teacher main competency is. Can you Witness yourself on the mat and learn directly from your own body what is going on at the multiple dimensions of any given experience. The secrets of the universe rest in connecting the dots of your internal experience, without judgment, without preconceived ideas. Get out of your way. Sit back and observe.


Have a great day, or not.
And learn direct from your own experience.
You get better at that and you free your yoga students to do the same.


2015 Unconditional Happiness,


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