Thoughts on teaching yoga

Thoughts on Teaching Yoga  |  Photo credit:  Shelby Eaton

Thoughts on Teaching Yoga  |  Photo credit: Shelby Eaton

This July will make it five years since I started on the path of becoming a yoga teacher. I realize now that I have needed every moment of these last five years to finally feel like I am ready to begin. I can't explain it but it honestly feels like this is Day 1. I have no idea what the next chapter holds and I am scared but I am also excited. What I do know is that I feel more inspired than ever before.

For me, the formula has been pretty simple. I am speaking only for myself when I say that being a yoga teacher has a lot to do with having the willingness to allow my ego to get pummeled over and over again. I know this doesn't sound very pleasant - and it isn't, in fact it is very painful! - but it sets me free. And it is a process the rhythms of which I have come to trust. Whether it is by seeking out mentor teachers who will point out my blind spots and offer me constructive criticism; attending a 10-day silent meditation; going through the Yoga Sutras in depth as a way of examining my habits of perception; admitting when I am wrong and learning from my mistakes; all of these experiences have a way of shattering the ego structures that I build up in my mind. They force me to keep working away constantly at dissolving the layers of pride, fear, ignorance, jealousy, and misunderstanding, that keep me from seeing myself and the world as it truly is. But more importantly these experiences are an intensive training in compassion. They put me in touch with a source of infinite mercy and love and they open my heart so that I can enjoy a greater sense of belonging with the people around me.

I don't believe that I really have anything to teach. Certainly I don't have the answers to your questions. But what I do have is tremendous faith in the yoga itself and in the resources that are inside of each and every one of us. I have a lot of passion and I want to share it.

I have feet of clay and so much learning and growing to do. There are things I don't understand about myself but I am also not afraid to take a good hard look. I've learned how to be patient while I wait for clarity to emerge, and invariably it always does. I am well aware that people get uncomfortable when I talk like this and say that I am much too hard on myself. But honestly it is precisely because of these things that I am able to feel so happy and free, to take risks, to teach with spontaneity and creativity, to have fun and to not take any of it too seriously. Roethke defines the word 'Teacher' as "one who carries on her education in public" and that makes a lot of sense to me. I am so grateful to all of you who are sharing this journey with me. It is my joy to learn from