Why I don’t say I’m a yoga teacher when I go to yoga…
When I travel and my schedule allows, I love to take a yoga class or two. Not to evaluate the teacher, judge the studio or compare notes, but to just be me, work on my own practice, and restore my own person. I usually come in and try not to draw any extra attention to myself, so that means I usually let everyone else do the pre-handstands and super bendy poses as they “warm up” before class.
When I get to go to yoga, I just want to be myself, I just want to breathe, sweat, move and feel both in balance and strong coupled along side feeling super weak and challenged. The last thing I want is the teacher over adjusting me, or being either thrown off or feeling the need to be some how more snazzy than her (or his) regular self.
I have been teaching yoga for almost fifteen years now and it has taken me some time to not be bothered by those few students that waltz in and announce that they are a yoga teacher (from some fancy-schmancy part of the US) and then proceeded to perform their pre-yoga routine followed by a mid-class self-inspired breakout routine.
I would often wonder what those people get from coming to yoga, a practice that is not supposed be competitive; one that should be all encompassing, accepting, and loving. It’s like coming into someone’s house and instantly acting as though it’s your house and telling all those who reside there how they should live in that dwelling. And if you aren’t telling them how to live you are making it very clear that you have a better way-and it ain’t theirs.
Now hear me out. I accept all as they are, but what I have learned from this type of student is, for me, I have nothing to prove anymore. I am me, I love me, I am good enough, and I need not anyone to like me for anything thing other than liking me for me.
When I go to yoga, I want to be taught, I want to surrender, I don’t want to have to over think, I’m not interested in performing, I just want to fall in love with myself and my practice and enjoy the dance of my life-the one that displays itself out on my yoga mat. I’m O.K. with falling and have no expectations on the class or myself-I just want to practice.
Coming to my mat as a student I get to be free, I get to work on me. When I teach I am holding the space for my students, helping them work on themselves, it’s not my workout or work-in for that matter, it’s theirs, and now this practice is mine.
In a few days, I am going on a trip and I have no expectations as I plan on hitting up at least one class. I see this as just an opportunity to be taught and connect with my own breath for a few minutes out of the day. I can’t think of a better way to start my travels each morning.
So why do you come to your mat? What serves you on your mat? Why are you practicing how you are practicing? I am fortunate to live in a small(er) town so this type of yoga show doesn’t happen very often, but when I travel I see it a lot more. Yoga can so easily become competitive, and can swing from all welcoming and all-encompassing to a bit more that that (to put it kindly).
When you come to yoga, be yourself, be ready to work and yet still allow yourself to be vulnerable, listen to your body, your breath, and try to fall into the dance we call the flow…
See what comes of your practice, not as a teacher, but as a student…And then when you leave your mat, see what comes of your life by just being yourself.