Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Students Are Teachers Too

Posted by terrepruitt on March 15, 2014

Sometimes after a Nia Class or even a yoga class a student will come up to me to explain why they weren’t doing something I said to do.  This is a HUGE education for me because some times what they say they can’t do is not what I intended for them to do.  When my students share with me it helps me teach them better.  Their understanding of what I am instructing them to do helps me hone my teaching skills and at times has me finding different ways to say things.  Could be an entirely different way of saying something or it could just be a matter of me explaining it a little better.  Either way, I am always learning from my students.

As an example, one day after one of my yoga classes a students explained to me that she has a very high arch so she cannot use her whole foot.  Many standing poses in yoga require you to stand on the entire foot and in Nia we also use our whole foot at times.  Whole foot meaning your weight is distributed over the entire foot.  Not standing on the toes or leaning back on the heals, or even to either side of the foot, but to use the “whole foot”.  Since I say whole foot all the time it didn’t even dawn on me that someone could take it as the WHOLE foot.  To be fair, she is correct.  When I say whole foot, I actually mean your whole foot PRINT.  I don’t mean to include the arch of the foot which would actually be covered in the term “WHOLE foot”.  I am not certain if this was ever a thought for any of my Nia students, but just to be clear, I throw whole foot PRINT out there every once in a while in all of my classes so people understand when I say whole foot, I mean the foot PRINT.  Not the arch.  Flash!  I learned something.

There was another time when we were on our hands and knees doing the cat pose.  In this pose I have my students look “down” into their lap.  If the individual’s neck allows and they are comfortable with that, I go for the big stretch all the way down the spine.  So when we arch down with belly towards the earth, I tell them to look up since I consider looking into the lap looking “down”.  After class one day, one student told me she can’t look up because of a neck issue and when she said it we were standing and she looked up at the sky.  At that moment, I just said, “Ok.  Good for you for recognizing a position your body cannot do and not doing it.”  I wasn’t exactly certain what she was talking about because I hadn’t instructed anyone to look up at the sky, but if her neck can’t do that, is great that she not do it.  The next time I was doing the combination, I thought “look up” and – FLASH! (the light bulb again) – I understood what she was talking about.  When I said look UP, she thought I meant UP at the SKY and not just up from the “down”.  So, again, I learned something.  I can still say look up, but I clarify that I mean up from your lap (or the other options I give).

It always amazes me and make me happy that I learn so much AS I TEACH.  I think I have shared before in a post that there comes a time in my process of learning a Nia Routine where I just have to take it to the class.  No matter how much time I spend at home by myself learning it, I always learn more in that hour of teaching it than all of that before time.  Awesome.  I might have even posted something similar to this before.  It just goes to show that I am always learning something from my students!  Ta-da!  Students are teachers too.

Do you ever talk to your teacher about stuff?  Did you ever thing that you could be teaching them something?  

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