Phenomena I noticed in a class I was teaching the other day – just being there helps students. The pose was triangle headstand – Sirsasana II – at the wall. It was a beginners class with about 8 students in it. I instructed the pose, then let the stu’s workshop it. When I was done helping one person get up into the headstand, I went over and talked to another who was just sort of sitting there.
I asked her to give it a shot, and she placed her hands and head properly, then came up into down dog legs and walked her feet in a few inches, then came back down. Then she said she couldn’t do it, and she was afraid. Two different things to me – but the same thing to her.
I wanted to just encourage her to go one more step – to get her knees onto her elbows. So I said, I’m right here to spot you, and the wall is behind you, give it one more shot. I talked her through it step by step, and I’ll be darned if she didn’t get into the headstand straight as a board.
Thinking about it now, she obviously had the skills, strength and ability to do the pose. She just didn’t have the confidence (or, conversely, she had too much fear). I didn’t do anything particularly special. I just talked her through the mechanics of the pose, I didn’t even encourage her all that much.
Apparently just being there helps students.