Experiential Learning or Parroting?

Experiential Learning or Parroting?

Experiential Learning or Parroting?

This blog mainly goes out to yoga teachers.  Even if you aren’t a teacher, you still may resonate or know exactly what I mean…

Have you ever taken a class and the things the teacher asked of you just didn’t feel right?  Have you had a teacher come home from a weekend workshop or training and then experiment on you?  When I returned home from training a lot of people said they were excited to see what I had been learning.  The problem?  I like to take time and practice it before asking students to do it.  True learning in the body takes time.  I like to experiment on myself, see what feels right, then add into class.  Little things I have been able to implement that just make sense with what I do.  But the big things… those will take a little time to trickle into class.

As teachers it is easy to get eager to try something cool you did in someone else’s class.  It feels nice to offer students something different.  But what if it hasn’t had time to properly percolate in your body or mind?  When we don’t take the time to experience something for ourselves, we become parrots.  We speak others’ words and everyone around you feels it in some way, shape or form.  This is why continuing a daily practice as a teacher is so important.

I know I use so many of Max’s verbal cues.  They are excellent for teaching proper alignment quickly.  Several years ago, I had a friend (also a student of Max Strom) who took my class.  She told me I was too much like Max.  I was devastated.  Then I spoke with Max and his response, “Elizabeth, I would be offended if you weren’t like me.  Did you not take my training?”  This made me feel so much better.  Last week, Sarah Powers added a new piece to this learning as she said, “The more you practice and truly experience your practice the more authentic you become.  So even if you were to use my exact words, they would become yours.  In this way you have had experiential learning and are not simply a parrot.”

Teachers, remember experience is your greatest teacher.  Don’t sacrifice your practice.  It will mean the world to your students!




Elizabeth Delaney