Over the last few years I have demonstrated an asana or two in class, (in particular standing postures or twists) on my less than open side. For example, I’ll demonstrate Ardha Chandrasana, and discuss where my body needs to move in the pose. Then I’ll move to the wall to show how the wall helps connect the mind to the body bringing awareness and understanding of how the body needs to work in the pose. This has prompted comments from some teachers. Most interestingly, “Why would you show imperfect poses to your students?”
As teachers we are tempted to demonstrate poses on the side that comes easiest to us. However if we continue to demonstrate poses on the same side, over and over again, in time we will create or increase imbalances in our own bodies.
Many teachers have students volunteer to demonstrate poses. This is ideal. You can have students of varying levels of ability demonstrating variations of the pose. I do this in class on occasion. However, I find that most students do not want to be the center of attention in class.
Additionally, I have had students say: “Oh you can do anything”, “Your practice is perfect”, “Everything comes easily for you and I’ll never be able to do that.” I want students to understand that no one is perfect. We all have things we need to work on and strive toward in our practice and in our daily lives. We are, and should be, in a continuous dance of evolution and involution.
Pattabhi Jois said it best: “Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just a circus.”