Erica Mather is one hell of a human being. She had recently visited Chicago to give a workshop series, which is alluded to in the conversation.
Below, teachers will find ideas for growing their reach, the importance of communication, and how Erica's listening skills have developed during her yoga practice and profession.
You'll hear a bit about my previous academic life and so a lot of talk about music, creativity, and getting the "Download."
We started off getting our technology working correctly. I asked Erica if she had been using more technology in her teaching/interfacing. This recording picks up there:
Technology used in delivery of class lecture format.
Signature System around Body Image Health
Bose wireless headset
Lead classes over phone.
Intentional weekly class: class solution for self-directed students who need the space to be held
4:00 the soul in the windows [eyes] or in the voice?
How is vocal quality considered when speaking/teaching?
Voice is attached to breath, life force
Voice a closer connection to the essential nature of a person than their eyes?
Connected to consciousness, connected to will, intent.
8:30 Why Adam Corrolla's Love Line fascinating.
11:40 Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald --voice of their times.
12:30 Urban women on the frontier of linguistic development
14:00 Do we posess or value class [refinement] any more?
15:20 Vocal teacher as bodyworker
19:15 High school band and orchestral education and the movement to adult learning
22:00 Music accesses different parts of the brain than speech alone.
24:20 Do the small wins matter?
The Heart of Yoga, book best promise we can make is to help.
Is this a stance of humility?
27:00 How does Service fit into the yoga community?
29:20 You're paid to get yourself there and take yourself away. Everything else is for free.
31:00 Have you noticed a trajectory of development in your listening/hearing skill set since you've started yoga?
Communication contracts, listening, following instructions this is how people interpret [everything!], I won't ask you to do what you cannot. Student contract includes precise execution of instructions.
Truthfulness in listening and speaking.
Observe reaction. Can this person convey what they mean, what they want? Can I take at face value?
"Let me be clear about what I'm saying."
Wrangle: expose people to more esoteric experiences in their practice.
Reaching to describe things, ineffable, intangible. Language must then be increasingly clearer.
Complexity with simplicity. Simplexity.
37:15 What does Ana Forrest say to Erica regarding teaching?
38:00 Discerning between saying something that is clever and heart is yearning to express it.
"The desire to say something clever usually comes from insecurity."
Impulse comes from the wrong place.
Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable while teaching.
40:00 Erica reflects on Chicago workshop experience as a listening experience, teacher to group.
40:50 Being clever is kind of defense mechanism
41:00 How the heart's message is like a bubble.
43:00 Yin Yang and
When things come from the heart, there's a need to reach for it.
Channeling. Clarity of speech bypasses brain like a download.
49:00 The class as an organization of energy, a web
50:00 Om as evidence of change
What if I told you that some teachers relish making you sore?
And what if I told you that you fell for it? You actually believed it's a good thing--to feel sore, to feel wiped, to feel exhausted after your practice?
And now what if I told you you might very well make more progress if you don't fall for that gimmick?
Yes, it's a gimmick--a biological gimmick.
Yes, we start something new, it impacts our biology, we fall in love.
Yes, we meet someone cute, they impact our loins, we fall in love.
Yes, we meet a trainer, they help make us sore, we fall in love.
Yes, we find a restaurant, they serve us food we've never eaten in our lives, we fall in love.
The feeling of accomplishment or finishing, rather, is far different than progress.
How do you measure true progress?
Let not the feelings of accomplishment masquerade as progress. Have a metric. If you need a metric for your spiritual progress try a book by Cindy Wigglesworth called SQ 21. It'll at least give you a map and you can chart where you currently are on your path. Have a map and have a teacher or mentor that can nudge you in the next right developmental direction.
"Today I made progress because ________________________ ."
[this blank is to be filled in with an action phrase]
"I really like what I'm feeling now after that session ..."
[this is a feeling statement, not an action word]
"I'm going to treat myself to ___________ after that class."
These statements are predicated on the need for reward.
Enter: Minimum Effective Dose
Now that you have clarity between doing something for the sake of a mere feeling state, and doing something because it helps you continue either on a path or to a goal, what is actually required to go in that direction?
Minimum Effective Dose is a phrase used in pharmacology to help determining the therapeutic range of a drug. On the other side of the spectrum is MTD or Maximum Tolerated Dose. I'm not making a case for training one way exclusively, however more people would benefit from learning what their MED is rather than training exclusively MTD. One must learn how much is just enough and how much is teetering on toxic, and playing in that range.
My observation is that accomplishment-based exercise [cannot call it training] relies heavily on MTD.
To be fair, it has an intoxicating effect, and the feeling of well-being is the stuff of which research and publications are made. It's how grant checks are cut, and more research is funded. It's why many unwitting clients will return to your class or your training sessions. It's important economically. There's a little biological hook that has you coming back for more. Cheetos and soda. You get the high, you come back for more.
What I think we miss though, as a movement culture, is how much can I remove without feeling detrained? How little can I do and still maintain? What's the dosage needed to still have the ritual, to show up, to participate, and to progress?
Finding your lower limit protects you from letting others abuse your upper limit.
Finding your lower limit informs your recovery greatly.
Finding your lower limit gives you freedom.
Next time you're training, ask if that exhaustion is actually a good thing, or if you're just leaving a mark.
Have you heard yourself remark today on someone's bothersome traits?
You may not be surrounding yourself with [enough] greatness.
Uplift and grow eyes that see into the Heart of each and every human.
The depth of your practice may reveal the type and quality of experience of the practice.
The practice is but one influential component of the quality of experience.
The depth of practice may be bound by cognitive constraints or physiological compromise.
Practice deeply, but train intelligently, eat healthfully, and respect your self as an energetic being.
Incubating practice and teaching ideas in written form here.