As Hillary and I wrap up our Lotus Blossom Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training and I begin Dharma Path Advanced Studies at Samyama, I am reminded of an important principle in my teaching (Or shall I say my learning?): I reserve the right to change my mind. Said another way, “when you know better, you do better.” A good teacher never stops learning, and it’s a strength, not a weakness to be able to come to class and say, “You know that thing I’ve been telling you every class for the last ten years? We’re not doing that anymore because yesterday I learned something better.”
My students know how passionate I am about alignment issues and pelvic floor health. We often discuss how kegels (at least how they are taught to the masses) are outdated and should be abandoned by the average mom. Yet, there was a time I didn’t teach prenatal yoga without leading kegels! Recently, in putting together a Powerpoint presentation for a new class at Blossom, I came across a blog post by Katy Bowman that was in response to a video produced by “the Kegel Queen” Alyce Adams. It led me down the rabbit hole into their friendly debate. Theses ladies presented fabulous information on both sides, and ended up at a fairly similar conclusion. For now, it won’t change what I am teaching in my classes, but I accept that as I learn more, it likely will! There are multiple sides to every issue and we need to be open to learning new things and trying them out. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind.
In the political discussion (especially in recent years), I’ve heard criticism of candidates who “flip-flopped”- who basically supported one stance on an issue, then changed his or her mind to a different stance. I know not every change of political ideals is for authentic reasons, and that’s a whole other can of worms. So that point aside, don’t we want government leaders who can learn from experience and research and see that their original ideas aren’t in the best interest of our country? Changing a stance on something is not inherently a bad thing. Frankly, it’s just the opposite. It’s pretty messed up if someone in office is presented with compelling evidence to change their stance on an issue, yet refuses to do so just to save face. Thanks goodness I’m not a politician!
Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki said, “In the Beginner’s Mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” If variety is the spice of life, then “many possibilities” feeds the soul a very tasty meal! The longer I teach, the more I approach my practice, both as a student and as a teacher of yoga, with Beginner's Mind. I’ve always been a person who questions things and I love looking at research, picking it apart, looking at it critically. The older I get, the more I realize how little I know. Approaching things with Beginner’s Mind gives me the opportunity to grow from my explorations and I hope my students are reaping the benefits. Furthermore, being open to learning new things or simply looking at things from a different point of view has taught me compassion and the ability to connect with a diverse group of people. I want to thank all of my students and trainees for all that they have taught me!