I am a yoga teacher and I am coming out of the closet
In recent years, after taking on the often coveted role of yoga teacher and studio owner, I find it harder and harder to call my self a yoga teacher. I am more of a guide who is sharing what I know to be true for me in my life and in my body…. Today. But for the sake of ease, lets go ahead and call me a yoga teacher.
I don’t have a script, and I don’t believe there is only one way. But I do believe if I am to responsibly take the seat of the teacher I must have a strong personal practice. Not just time on my mat in front of my students, or a note pad or a book, or my blog or facebook, but time on my mat facing all of my stuff.
I am a yoga teacher and it is time for me to come out of the closet.
I have let my personal practice take second, well maybe even 5th chair. It was not by choice, but by another one of those lessons of life complicated with my recover, the holidays, travel, weather, illness and …… life! Well alright, if I am to be perfectly honest, I may have been slacking on my personal practice before my illness.
I was only teaching 5 or so classes a week, but doing lots of privates and busy creating a manual for my new workshop on top of running the studio. My personal practice was anything but balanced. I was doing what I tell my yoga teachers not to do, counting my time in front of the class as my yoga practice. I am not even sure when or how that happened. It was so easy for me to over extend myself as a yoga teacher, studio owner artist, creator, writer, bodyworker, that there was no time for a personal practice. I also got wrapped up in my accomplishments with more advanced poses that I may have even forgotten the subtle nuances that separate yoga from acrobatics.
Less then a year ago I was doing all sorts of crazy things that I never imagined possible with this 50 year old body (and had my eyes set on even bigger things). The day before my illness took me down long term, I was so excited that I could finally do a forearm balance in the center of the room, O YES! I had becoming that yoga teacher. My focus was on doing, achieving and …….. well, that is not the reason I teach or practice yoga. Well ok, it had become the reason, but it was not the reason I fell in love with yoga.
The details of my recent life lessons are less important then the realization that this thing called yoga, those asanas in particular have rid me of a lot of disEease in my body that I had taken for granted. I think I even lost my excitement and joy in sharing my practice, but that could also be in part to what ailed me at the time. It was not until time away from and now trying to get back onto my mat that I am becoming aware again of and being reminded of the healing aspects that were the direct result of my practice. O, I have known it, I taught it, but now I am reminded and living it once again as I am noticing those nagging aches and pains in my knees, my feet, my low back and now the return of the wrist. It would be easy to say it is because I am 50, but I know I had them before yoga, healed them with yoga and now they are suddenly back after a 3-4 month break in my practice.
So, I can say now with gratitude, illness struck. My perspective quickly changed and all I longed for was to just move and even breath pain free. What a difference a day makes and how humbling. After surgery, I was so thrilled the day I first realized I had a pain free moment. It was not until I finally felt good did I realize I had been sick for a while before I was sidelined off of my mat.
Giving myself time to heal must now include time to restore my personal practice before I resume taking the seat of the teacher. I am not in any rush to get back in front of the class. There are plenty of really good, excited teachers out there and yet I am struggling with it personally. While I am currently only subbing, I may have jumped the gun. My personal practice is still in recovery yet there I went, jumping in to cover classes.
I wonder how many yoga teachers are guilty of taking the seat of the teacher, yet neglecting their own personal growth and time on the mat. While yoga is more then a physical practice, it is important that if you are going to share your physical practice and take the seat, you must have a personal practice! It is easy to fall back on that script or an old favorite sequence but if we take in to account the other limbs of yoga, can we really take the seat of the teacher with out one?
I am fortunate that finances are not motivating factors for me as a yoga teacher, rather it is my desire to share what has worked for me. I am also fortunate that I have a group of amazing teachers dedicated to their personal practice to step in and take over my classes.
Initially I felt a need to return in an effort to serve my students and my studio and who knows maybe even my ego. In an effort for me to be authentic and true to my yoga I have decided not to reclaim my seat as the teacher in group yoga classes but to rededicate myself fully to the asana portion of yoga in my own life. To focus once again on the healing aspects of the practice in my body. So now several times a day I spend time on my mat readdressing those issues that rear their head. I am also taking time to write, and to fine tune a project that was conceived over a year ago and is currently in need of refining.
So I am coming out of the closet.
· I admit I was getting wrapped up a bit more then I realized in the accomplishments of my practice.
· I was teaching awareness, and mindfulness but I was not practicing it.
· I was trying to do to much and be all things
· I was not practicing what I preached
I am rededicating my self to my own personal practice. This is priority for me and time on the mat will be just for me. I will be sharing my work thru writing, in privates and workshop settings and perhaps subbing and assisting other teachers, as opposed to taking on a weekly or daily classes. I am reeling myself in and staying focused, as opposed to having my head into a million different things. This feel right, it feels good. Taking the seat of the teacher is an honor and I must honor that.
So Yoga Teachers I invite you to join me in coming out of the closet and publicly rededicating yourself to a thorough and continued study and practice of Yoga while embracing the idea of truthfulness in dealing with yourself and others. This includes accurately representing yourself while improving your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing thru a personal practice..
Practice what we preach. To do otherwise we must ask ourselves are we being truthful to our students?
See you, on the mat