Brianna Goodman is a yoga teacher, writer, and editor. Originally drawn to yoga as cross training for dance, Brianna soon discovered the ways that pranayama, meditation, and a heightened awareness of the body followed her off of the mat. In 2014, she became a certified and licensed yoga teacher and Mind Body Dancer® teacher through the Perri Institute for Mind and Body. As her interests have carried her away from the ballet barre and toward the writing desk, yoga has continued to support Brianna as both a student and teacher of movement. In addition to teaching, Brianna works as the social media coordinator/blog editor for the Perri Institute, and as the managing editor of Glossolalia, the translation magazine of PEN America, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection of human rights and free expression. She lives and works in New York City.
is there a lesson from your studies that has stayed with you and become part of your personal wisdom?
In teacher training, TaraMarie Perri taught us the lesson of the “empty cup.” An empty cup refers to an open mind, a willingness to admit that you have much to learn, and that you are open to receiving new knowledge. This practice is much easier said than done; our culture uplifts those who have an opinion, and who proclaim it the loudest. There’s a pressure to always be right, to always have the answers and, most often, to be able to prove your case in economic terms, which have somehow become the “objective” standards by which we are supposed to prove everything. It’s vulnerable and perhaps unpopular to admit that you don’t know—but this skill is crucial. I continue to return to this lesson on an almost daily basis—in what ways am I walking through life like a full cup? What assumptions do I hold that fill my cup? What statements do I proclaim that might be a little more complicated than I allow for? Am I truly seeing the person in front of me, or is there something I’m projecting onto them that might not actually be there? Where are my gaps in learning—both the obvious gaps and the gaps I might not know exist? More and more, I believe that true wisdom comes from the willingness to admit that you might be wrong, or that there’s something you might be missing. When you can admit that, you can empty your cup and prepare the mind to absorb and wrestle with new information.