Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Two Dives, One Sauveteur

According to Yahoo!, one of the most-emailed photos yesterday was of American diver Chelsea Davis as she banged her forehead into the diving board at the preliminaries for the World Swimming Championships in Montreal.

If you don't have a stomach for this sort of thing, you should skip this part. But if you can stand it, you should look at the video clip that Fox News has posted on its web page.

You can see it at:,2933,163674,00.html

Click on the button that says "Video" right next to the pictures.

You can avert your eyes during Chelsea's dive.

But you should look to see what happens right after her dive. As soon as Chelsea hits the water, there's a second dive!

That's right. It's clumsy and awkward. But its the best dive I've seen in a long time.

You see, it's the German coach, Lutz Buschkow, who, unlike everyone else who stood around mouth agape, jumped in to help the injured diver!

It wasn't the trained sauveteur (that's life-guard, or literally, rescuer for those of you who aren't Francophiles) with the bright red shirts who hit the water first. It was a coach from another team, from another country, in fact.

I love to teach yoga. It's like no other experience I have available to me in my life. I love it. But it's not easy. And one of the real kickers is, you don't always know what to do.

There's no guide book to tell you what to do when one person is disrupting a class that everyone else paid good money for. There's no life coach available to stand by your side and talk you through the proper procedure for handling someone who's being unsafe.

If you're reading this and you're a yoga teacher consider these two things I've found that make the difference:
1) take control, and
2) make commitments.
If you're committed to a particular outcome, it almost always readily dictates what is the next right thing for you to do.

That's what I saw when Coach Buschkow flung his body into the water: He was in control of himself and his surroundings and he was clearly committed to the safety and well-being of every athlete at the pool.

Because of his clear commitment, he knew exactly what to do. And he did it. He didn't need a red shirt to be Chelsea's sauveteur.

If you're not a yoga teacher, but you're committed to the mastery of yoga, I suggest these two criteria as you select your yoga teacher:
1) Can you tell if he or she is in control of the class?
2) Do you know what your teacher's commitments are?
If the answer is "no" to either of these, you might consider finding another teacher, if you have that luxury.

Like diving, I think practicing yoga requires that I take risks, albeit measured ones. When I study, I want someone around, who's got commitments that show. Their actions speak louder than words.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., Do you want to participate in our next Experience Yoga Teacher Training Program in St. Louis? We'll meet one weekend each month for a year. You'll finish with all the hours you need to be a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher. The focus of this training is on Teaching Yoga, not learning to do yoga poses. Send me an email at to find out more about the Experience Yoga Teacher Training Program, taught by me and Sallie Keeney.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


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