We had a lecture today with Lynn a teacher from San Fransisco on how to think as a teacher and the importance of having compassion for your students. It was really really interesting and changed some of my thinking about my approach to discipline in the class etc.
Part of the rationale behind making TT so tough is that they hope it will teach us to be compassionate with our students. When we're having a tough class and / or struggling with a posture she said to think about how you're feeling, how you're breathing, what is going on in your head and how you get through that - and to remember those feelings when you see students struggling in your class.
Granted we want everyone to "kill themselves" and work hard but there is also a need to recognise when someone has maybe hit the wall and is having a hard time in class and to respect that. And that means, that if they need to sit down, if they need to drink lots of water, whatever it may be that we should NEVER make assumptions about what someone is capable of. We don't know what is going on in there lives and what kind of day they might have had etc, so we should respect that as adults we are all capable of making the right decision about how to look after ourselves. We need to empower our students to make the right choices about what is right for them.
She spoke a lot about the fact that in her opinion, someone doing some yoga is better than them doing none at all. Therefore if they are late to class (she will allow yogis to come in at any stage through Pranayama breathing) or need to leave early then that is ok. She said we are yoga teachers not prison guards and we should make the yoga room a safe place for your students not a prison cell. A lot of things are non-issues and so don't worry about them.
On the flip side she said we need to learn how to get the best out of our students and recognise when people are responding positively to corrections or being pushed. And that as a teacher when we are practicing we should lead by example and be the kind of student we want to teach. E.g. We can do this by teaching our students when to drink water. Don't tell them NOT to drink, but tell them when it is time for a water break and they will then learn when its appropriate to drink.
So all in all a much more relaxed approach to whats going on during class and I hope I remember to take that with me into the hot room. Much as I like having the discipline and work really hard to not fidget, drink water, and get distracted etc, I realise that is how I like my practice but may not necessarily work for everyone, and yeah sometimes you just have a crappy practice for seemingly no reason at all, and to just let that happen :-)