I am a yoga teacher. Being a yoga teacher gives you the opportunity to do and learn so many things.
You learn about the history and philosophy of yoga, anatomy and how the body works. You learn about the breath and its importance in our lives. You learn about the varied styles of yoga, what makes them different and how you would teach them differently. You learn how to cue poses and plan classes.
What you don’t always learn is how to deal with yourself.
How to deal with the multitude of fraudulent feelings that arise when you enter this over-saturated industry and begin to teach. You don’t learn about finding your own voice and don’t get taught how to develop your own style of teaching and what your niche actually is. You only know that it is very important and will be the only thing that separates you from other teachers.
You walk into a class that you are about to teach. There are about 15 people in the class, none of whom you have met before. They are all chattering amongst themselves and you realize that they are not speaking English. You have a look at a couple of them and see they all look quite fit and generally happy to be there. “Oh my God they are going to hate me“, you think to yourself.
You plug your music in, select your playlist, unroll your mat and sit down. You introduce yourself, thank them for coming and ask if there are any injuries you should know of or if anyone in the class has never done yoga before. To which you only receive silence back. I’m not joking, you get no answer and have to go on their facial expressions. And then as you ask everyone to close their eyes and breathe in through the nose……you go completely blank and realize that you have forgotten you have a mouth and can’t remember your sequence.
I am a yoga teacher, and although when I went into teacher training it was not for the sole purpose of teaching ( it’s more common than you think), I am happy that I decided to pursue this career because of how much I have learnt about people and myself. I will admit, though, that sometimes being a teacher has made me have to face some emotions and feelings that honestly, I would have been fine never having to deal with ever.
The reason I speak about these hidden emotions here is that it is not very often that a yoga teacher will admit when they are struggling.
We have to face things like
- Learning how to project your voice, say what you mean and mean what you say…when you are a complete introvert.
- Planning classes, music, themes, and sequences… when you can’t even plan your weekly grocery list.
- Feel confident in your ability, experience, and knowledge….even though you completely forgot what the opening instruction of your class was.
We don’t really talk about
- How we feel when a class goes terribly wrong or when that one student kept looking at the time.
- How we struggle to make the class interesting and worry when the students look bored.
- How there are millions of other teachers with far more experience and years, who have gone through workshops, training’s and studied yoga because its become their life and all you have at the moment is your basic training.
- When the last time was we really practiced and how we struggle with our home practice, even though it is the single most important aspect to being a good teacher, and yet the one thing I have heard a lot of teachers say they have difficulty maintaining.
There are a whole world of boundaries to break and fears to confront.
When we speak about hidden emotions, there are 3 ways we as humans have evolved to actually press down and squash these feelings so tightly within ourselves that we eventually burst from too much hot air.
- We project -”I do not feel confident with the class or feel that I am good enough to teach or that the sequence is good enough to be taught and so feel that they will not like the class.”
- We rationalize – “Well I didn’t have enough time to plan the class better because I have a normal job”.
- We put on the social mask – “I am a yoga teacher and meant to be full of positive thoughts, sparkly unicorn farts and know how to cure that niggle in your knee.”
The only way, I feel, to get out of this is to go through it. Teach as much as I can, learn where I can and improve where I can.
I have an entire lifetime to teach and it can only get better.
Sometimes we just need to sit with our thoughts (and our shadows) and dissect what it is that is weighing on our hearts. Even when we might need to shatter the unrealistic facade that we have created in our attempt at perfection.
How do you sit with your shadow?