We, as a service industry, base our working relationships on personal contact. The way we interface with clients correlates directly to our energetic connection with them and how that connection helps us read them and what their bodies need.
One byproduct of this current digital era is the element of working remotely, which has completely changed how we interact with one another- and our clients. Since the COVID19 pandemic onset- and the resulting complications of working in immediate proximity to other people- teaching online has quickly shifted from being a viable alternative to the new normal, while irrevocably altering how we relate to those we teach.
While this modality offers tremendous benefits (for example, being able to teach multiple students and study with teachers from every corner of the world without leaving one’s house), it also raises pertinent questions, such as, how does one teach without being in a client’s physical presence, or, does being unable to touch a client adversely affect a teacher’s ability to do his/her job when demonstrating an exercise?
My own experience is that through combination of creativity, practice and awareness, I’ve become comfortable teaching remotely and able to teach at least as well as when I taught one- on-one in my studio. For example, recognizing the importance of physical touch (and the current inability to provide it), I now explain to clients where I would place my hands, or I use props to encourage a connection.
This is a creative workaround to a familiar issue. I am also mindful of maintaining that aforementioned energetic connection which I rely on to interface with and read my clients- especially when working remotely with them.
To maintain this connection and tap into what my clients need from moment to moment, I make an effort to be sensitized to my own feelings and thoughts. This is facilitated through a combination of meditation, breathing and grounding exercises, prior to teaching. Meditation and breathing help me focus more deeply; to be present and connect with my clients.
Focus on its own, will give one a sense of hyper-awareness and hypersensitivity. However, focus without grounding can sometimes cause one to be so sensitized to their thoughts and emotional state that they can begin to second guess- even doubt- what they’re sharing with a client/student.
This is why it is also helpful to be consciously grounded- not only in the sense of the aforementioned grounding exercises- but feeling grounded in who one is. This awareness includes one’s knowledge base, their efficacy as a teacher (which, of course is reflected back to them through the various successes and triumphs of their students), etc.
The stability from grounding in one’s own skillsets, experience, etc is a foundation upon which focus becomes magnified, its true power revealed and balance is restored, both the teacher and their teaching.