20 Aug TEACH TO PERFECTION
The first photo was taken by Arturo Patten and given to me as a gift when we were taking photos for Vanda’s book in 1990. Before she started, Vanda, as always when teaching, readjusted my body so it would be able to respond more fully, thanks to the directions of her hands (or feet in this case).
She was a master at communicating through touch and example. Her words were always few – succinct and direct. Each of her pupils was taken to their maximum possibilities. It was a slow process to lead us, her selected pupils, so that we could see a glimmer of what she had discovered. There was never a time when she didn’t do her utmost to take us to new heights of understanding. The profundity of her teaching is often misinterpreted. It is subtle and demanding.
The second picture, taken on a very narrow bench, is from this summer. Twenty four years have passed since the first one was taken. I like to remember Vanda when one time she was doing a position and turned to me and said at eighty-six: “I am getting better”. Her insistence on precision and excellence and her dignified, unrelenting communication
of being au point (to use her words, has enabled me to get closer to comprehending, over time, her revolutionary way of practicing.
As a teacher you must “teach your students to perfection”. That means your perfection, not theirs! First, however, you must be sure that you really know what you are doing if you assume you are “inspired by ‘Scaravelli Yoga’”, a label which has been applied to a supposed style. Before you can teach, you will need to find the “song of the body” within yourself where there is no push or pull, nor force, nor aggression. Settle for nothing less.
Do you see why, as a teacher you need to give your utmost to your students? If you honor Vanda’s rigor when you teach your students, let us hope that they will be able to say twenty-four years in the future, as I can now: “I, too, am improving.”
Thank you, Vanda.