I hope everyone is doing well and stays healthy. During this weird and stressful time, it is difficult for me to type up any content to share. I am sure the Coronavirus Pandemic makes a lot of us more stressful than ever. Whether we like it or not, it is an undeniable fact and we all have to face it. Though I feel calm, I am restless. A lot is going on in my head, but I can't come up with a clear thought. This is the third week of Shelter-In-Place and I am trying my best to hang in there. I am an indoorsy person, so it is not a problem for me to stay home. In fact, part of me enjoys such lifestyle very much. Not everyone can handle the lockdown, but I invite you to look at the bright side. Looking at things from different angles gives us different perspectives. Just like yoga asana practice, the same "shape" can be presented in many ways, which challenge our physical body and mental state in different levels.
Let's look at the shape of a straight line for example. Four pictures below show how the same shape is created in different asanas. I can lie down on my belly or on my back. I can also stand on my feet or go upside down to the headstand. Either way, I am creating the same shape, one straight line, either horizontally or vertically. However, these four poses present different levels of difficulties. Of course, standing straight and lying on the belly are easier than inversion and low boat pose (lying on the back with legs and shoulders lifted off the ground). Depending on the challenging level of the pose, my mind and body react differently.
I am a yoga practitioner and I teach yoga. This July will mark the 10 year anniversary of my yoga journey. After years of practicing and over 1,000 teaching hours, I'd like to think I am an experienced yogini. In reality, I feel opposite. There is no doubt that I've learned a lot throughout these years, but my confidence level isn't quite there yet especially when it comes to teaching. I often ask myself, "Am I qualified to teach? Do I have valuable content to offer students? How can I be a better teacher?" All these questions are the driving force for me to continue learning, taking workshops and training courses, and most importantly, keep practicing.
One day, I brought up my feeling to my partner. He told me what I've gone though was normal and shared Dunning-Kruger Effect with me. It sounds a little bit geeky, but what can I say? We both have engineering background. I was impressed by how well Dunning-Kruger Effect reflected my journey as a yogini as well as a teacher. I overestimated my yoga knowledge after being RYT 200 certified, two years of practicing yoga. I was overconfident and suffered from ignorance. As explained by The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, "ignorance, the cause of suffering, can be removed by the practice of the eight limbs of yoga." Luckily, it didn't take long to see my deficiencies; however, it wasn't until 2015 when I started practicing Ashtanga yoga did I truly recognize my "incompetence." Incompetence may be too strong of a word, but I did have a lot more to learn for sure. The Asana practice is only one limb of yoga. There are seven other limbs, Yama, Niyama, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana and Samadhi worth deeper study.
What is Dunning-Kruger Effect?
"In the field of psychology David Dunning & Justin Kruger talk about an illusory superiority that people believe (suffer from) in. This happens because of misjudging their cognitive abilities as greater, than it actually is. It is the inability to understand your incompetence, leading to inflated self-assessment." - Vunela