Re-Post: Teaching as Learning [A Forever Process]

 

This is a re-post of a piece that Emma originally wrote for her own blog, thinkerpoet.com. We hope you enjoy reading some of her reflections on the process of teaching and learning.IMG_20160101_151838

This past New Year’s I was given an opportunity to choose the “key” to my coming year. Two dear friends (artists and community convenors) had salvaged wooden piano keys from a scrap yard, and painted and anointed each one with different colours, designs and words. They were jumbled together in a cloth bag, and throughout the night they brought out the bag and invited friends to reach into the bag and pull a key. “Make sure you get the right one.” they teased as we reached, eyes closed, into the bag. As our fingers sifted through the jumble of keys, feeling raised black keys and narrower white keys, they invited us to let our intuition guide our choice. “You’ll know your key when you feel it.” they said. “It will be clear.”

Keys bearing the words “Equanimity”, “Wisdom” and “Contentment” emerged in different peoples’ hands. “Acceptance”, “Integrity”, and “Simplicity” followed. I watched my friends interact with their keys, unwrap their strings and hang them around their necks, bulky but meaningful necklaces. Continue reading

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How I “Teach” Ayurveda

candlesAuthor, therapist and yoga teacher Matthew Remski will be teaching a 36 hour Ayurveda Course at Queen Street Yoga starting in January 2015. This blog post illuminates his approach to teaching, and the value he feels Ayurveda can bring to expanding our awareness and creating more balance and richness in our lives.

First of all, I don’t really teach. I used to think I was teaching, back at the dawn of my nine-year span of leading this course. But sitting with clients for all that time has shown me that the best I can and should do is simply facilitate better conversations about personal and social health. This requires my learning as much about a student’s circumstance as I can share with them in terms of Ayurvedic theory. This means creating a learning space that’s conversational, which makes sense for a practice that’s nothing if it’s not about empowerment.

The baroque details of formal Ayurveda can be listed, memorized and regurgitated, but the real art lies in the discussion of principles between people who experience them differently, fueled in part by the Socratic questions of a facilitator, but more robustly by seeing how other people feel and narrate their experience towards an attentive appreciation for the intelligence of their flesh. It’s also good to have people examine each other’s hands and listen to each other’s pulses – not to form opinions (until much later), but to first appreciate the diverse ways in which the flesh speaks. The main tool I try to empower uses the embodied poetry of daily experience: how to take dictation from what is felt.

Here’s an incomplete list of principles that have crystallized in my particular river of Ayurvedic facilitation…
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