I've been meaning to write this blog for a while… but you know, life. Anyway, here are my thoughts about being a yoga teacher and how authenticity is more important than filling your yoga classes with bodies. I know there are yoga teachers out there who try to get everyone to like them and the classes they offer, but this doesn't just apply to yoga teachers. It's true of everyone. We want people to like us; it's part of our nature to fulfill the need to be accepted. The fact is not every one you meet is going to like you or me. And that's okay. We keep it moving, continue on our path to find those who do like and appreciate us, and all we have to offer.
This blog kind of piggy backs on another blog I wrote a few months ago about finding the right yoga teachers. Not every yoga teacher you encounter is going to be someone you connect with, but in the blog I said to keep trying different yoga teachers until you find one that you can connect with. I mean, that's why we keep going to the same teachers, right? It's because we like them, how they teach, what they say, and how we feel after class. I don't go to yoga classes because they are the most popular or hip teachers, but because of how I feel when class is over.
As a yoga teacher and human, I know there are people that don't care for me or how I teach. And that is perfectly fine with me. I rarely lose any sleep about someone not liking me these days. I have had students come up to me after class expressing how much they like the class and the music and then turn around and have another student tell me how they really disliked my musical choice for Savasana. It is hard to please every one all the time. It's actually impossible. My job as a yoga teacher is to provide a service and give the best instruction and offerings to my students. What is NOT my responsibility is to change every little thing to please them. That doesn't mean I am not sensitive to people's needs and traumas (I'll leave that for another blog.) Part of the yoga practice IS to be uncomfortable and accept the discomfort (read-not pain.) On the mat, you learn how to be okay during awkward or difficult times; that is how we grow and change. One of my favorite yoga teachers always says, as yoga teachers we give students what they want, but also what they need. And what they may need to learn is how to be in the moment, in the stillness, and to calm the mind using the breath. Once the moment of discomfort is over, they realize they are okay and they made it through. Realizing they are more powerful than their thoughts. They are resilient. And they can face any challenge in their life with ease.
We (yoga teachers) are as diverse as the populations we serve. Each teacher adds their own flavor and flair to the practice they teach. We are all expressing our love of these asanas by sharing them with our classes in our own individual ways. There are just as many yoga teachers as there are kinds of people. Rocker, edgy, yoga teachers who play punk rock music in their classes; spiritual, fairy-like yoga teachers who float by whispering their instructions; drill sergeant yoga teachers, older yoga teachers, younger yoga teachers, all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds. We bring our collective life experiences to our practices and teachings. There will never be two yoga teachers who teach the same. And to me, that is such a beautiful thing. You will find yoga teachers that you like, some that you love, and some that you see a bit of yourself in or they remind you of someone you care for deeply. I have many different yoga teachers and they are all different, yet the same. They allow me to see my light and my specialness, but in the same moment, they let me see I am no different from anyone else with the same struggles and insecurities.
In the end, we need to be true to who we are as individuals. All of us. People may love us or hate us, but that is not for us to worry about. What other people think of you is none of your business because what it comes down to is... how do you feel about yourself? If you love yourself, it does not matter what others think. Be you. Be happy. And your tribe will be attracted to your light.