“Think of your words as tossing a little pebble into the pond: let the ripples vibrate out and wait for them to dissipate before tossing the next pebble. “ TJ Maher.
One of our collectively favourite quotes from TJ’s book, Yin Nuance. In this quote, TJ is referring to teaching and slowly offering out your verbal cues as you watch them land in the mind and body. Just like when a pebble hits the water, words create a murmuration through the body which we need to give ourselves time to digest. I wrote about my experience of this as a student in London last week in Part 1.
This week I reached out to the teachers, to hear their thoughts and responses to this quote.
Mary, shared with me this touching story of her first ever yoga class – in which the teacher’s words have continued to ripple through her for years afterwards.
“Over a decade ago in my first ever yoga class the teacher had us stand in Tadasana which was probably the first time I’d ever stood and actually stopped to feel my breath or how my body spiralled. I remember so clearly that he described how ‘we all share our energy, through our words or actions and how it can change the course of everyones experience.’ Like a ripple effect, he reminded us to consider what sort of energy we wanted to transmit into the wider world. He was the first person I’d ever heard talk about energy, and completely different to all of the men I had ever met in life so far. He was so kind. I think I decided in that class that one day I wanted to make people feel on some level how he had made me feel, to learn as much as I could and then share it. He was also the first person I met up with after I did my first 200 YTT, I hadn’t seen him for nearly 9 years and I felt like I needed to find him and say thank you.”
I love this story, and I love how Mary was able to reconnect with him years later. It can often be the smallest words and gestures that leave the longest impact.
For Kitty, she told me a story of how she feels the ripple in a different context at the end of classes. She particularly remembers one beautiful student, who was well into her 70s and had been studying and practicing yoga for years, and would attend all of Kitty’s London classes. At the end of every class, she would sit up and applaud Kitty! And Kitty recalls feeling the ripples of her love and sheer love for the practice too.
Kitty also told me a story of when her and Jess were teaching on retreat, and Jess was guiding students back to their breath and Kitty could see how these words were physically landing and rippling in their bodies and gave just a huge, silent thumbs up to Jess – a pleasure you only get when you co-teach!
A massive thank you to TJ whose beautifully analogy has inspired much thought and discussion <3