Saturday, August 13, 2011

Maty Ezraty on teaching and the practice

A couple of bloggers (Grimmly and Yyogini among them) have already posted this video interview with Maty Ezraty on their blogs. I just watched it this morning, and there are a couple of things she brings up that really speak to me. Here are some thoughts:

(1) Do not just try to be a popular teacher, and only give students what they want: People don't like to hear that their elbows are not straight, or that they are not ready for this or that asana, and need to practice a modified version of the pose. But in order to serve one's students well, one often needs to hold them back and give them what they really need (even if they don't want it at the time).

As I was listening to Maty making this point, I couldn't help feeling that to be able to have this kind of honesty with one's student, one must first have the same level of honesty with one's own practice, and not just go with one's own ego, and do postures that one might not yet be ready for. I can't help feeling that this honesty must start with one's approach to one's own practice, and radiate outwards to one's relationship with others around one, including one's students. In this sense, the teaching is an extension of the practice.

(2) It's not all about the practice: Rest when you need to. Take moon days, visit your family, have fun. Especially since today is a moon day. Happy moon day!


  1. She is so cute! I really really like her!

    There's another point. Some teachers are all about taking students to the next step without ensuring the safety of individual students. I've actually gone to classes where I had to force myself NOT to follow all the instructions of a teacher in order not to get hurt.

  2. I have so much respect for this woman! She's so sweet and still she sort of scared the shit out of me many times!!:-) But there's nothing but love and honesty coming from her.

  3. Yes, Yyogini, this is so true. Actually, I tend to do this to myself too: I often have to question the voice in my head that tells me to go further, against my better judgment!

    Thanks for sharing, Helena. I've never studied with Maty before, but I have heard quite a bit from those who have. It seems that she has this uncanny ability to see that one is practicing from the ego, and to get one to hold back and restrain the ego. Perhaps this is what is "frightening"; that somebody can quite literally see through your practice?