Barbara Schaffer PhD talks about her experience on Yoga Academy Teacher Training Course

Behold, A “Perfect” Stranger
By How does a student know that they have become the teacher?
December, 2010
“Perfect” strangers shape us forever. More than a memory of a chance encounter, they leave us marked with their lasting impressions. All strangers begin as someone unknown. Then, they touch our lives. With time, a relationship may develop as they become friends, colleagues, or mentors.
“Perfect” strangers, however, are different. They are the most memorable of those we encounter because they change our very being. They “be” hold us. In other words, they hold our way of being by moulding and reshaping us into someone new. Nurturing our rebirth into the everyday, “perfect” strangers hold us in their teaching.
Holding is an act of supporting another with hands or arms in an embrace that assures and steadies all at once. It is a momentary coming together of beings in learning that enables personal transformations. To be taught is to be held in teaching by one who is the teaching. Being held by Jude in teaching is being just within reach of her, yet completely on my own.
Great teachers are like the lead ship in a flotilla. They are the first to arrive at a destination. After her arrival, who then becomes the lead ship? It is us, the students, the ones who follow close behind. Great teachers know the purpose of teaching is to prepare those who follow, to share with them all that they know, to hold, shape and guide the other.
Jude has brought many of us to a new dialect. Our yoga speaks a language of compassion, love, time for self, self reliance, self discipline, and consideration for the planet. Is it reminiscent of forgotten ways and forgotten ideas that we might have known at an earlier time and have put aside to live in a busy world? Great teacher know when a critical number of people come to know a way of being that changes how they think and behave in the world, the world changes and a new era begins.
I wonder…how would my life have been different had Jude not created a place for me in her circle of learning at the Yoga Academy?
Newly informed with her teaching, I travel on with a new way of thinking that will touch all I encounter. The ripples I create travel outward to touch the lives of others, and they, in turn, will ripple bringing others to the experience of new way. Around and around the ripples go as the concentric circles of our teachings cover the world.
How does a student know that they have become the teacher? At the right time, their knowing guide releases her hold and the student emerges into the world with a readiness to teach another. It is at that moment the meaning of teaching is uncovered and the student comes to know the teacher in themselves. That time is now for me, as my perfect stranger, Jude, releases me upon the world.
Get Ready –here I come!!!