Getting Creative with the Competition
Praise Yourself and Others
Yoga's popularity has seemingly reached its zenith, bringing streams of teacher training programs—and their graduates. The abundance of talented teachers (and sometimes not-so-talented teachers) can make us feel catty, insecure, and judgmental.
"The wave of popularity of yoga in our contemporary culture," asserts Muir, "brings with it the very limitations and obstacles from which we are trying to free ourselves.
"The real issue is for us, as teachers, to embody the teachings of yoga in our inner and outer lives, so that we and our students can be inspired to move beyond ignorance and to trust in our true natures."
With awareness of our actions on—and especially off—the mat, yoga can teach us to act in ways that generate union and harmony. Ippoliti shares specific ways to embody these teachings in professional relationships.
"When I find myself in the company of a great colleague," she says, "if my threatened self shows up, I immediately look to and praise [my colleague's] gifts as a teacher and a great being."
"This fills me with gratitude that students are able to experience that gift, one that perhaps I could not offer. When I focus on it from this perspective, there is truly room for the two of us. Love and respect increases and any threat dissipates."
Then, to strengthen her own sense of self-worth, "I contemplate my own talents and gifts and the distinct ways that my teaching and personality offer an angle that could benefit my students in a whole other way," Ippoliti says. "It's all about becoming more secure in the distinct things we offer the world, which is exactly what yoga teaches us."
Think Abundance, Not Scarcity
As human beings, we can choose how we wish to view the world. We can focus on limitations and scarcity, or we can open up to the reality that the world is infinitely abundant. In the long run, the latter is a much healthier outlook.
"In my studies of yoga, I have learned that one of the promises of the manifest world is that there is always more," says Ippoliti.
"The best example of this is the energy crisis. We are running out of fossil fuels, but if we are creative enough, we can use our magnificent minds to come up with innovative ways to harness energy. Fighting over what is left of our fossil fuels makes war, but creativity creates solutions."
We must employ this perspective in all our endeavors—from how we run our cars to how we market ourselves as teachers.
"We can call the plethora of teachers a terrible and lamentable problem," urges Ippoliti, "or we can choose to get creative and find new ways to reach brand-new students."
Take the High Road
Amy Ippoliti offers teachers the following advice: