I don’t want to be a yoga teacher and you can’t make me!
Earlier today I received an email from someone who assumed that I was a yoga teacher. She asked where I taught and if she could take my class if she was ever in town. I immediately corrected her assumption. Nope. Longtime yogini, no interest in ever being a teacher. Sacrilege in these parts, no? I mean, if I love it so much, why am I not chomping at the bit to become a RYT?
Oh so many reasons…
The top five:
1. I hate teaching.
Well, hate is a strong word. I don’t enjoy it much. I used to love it. I’ve taught English, creative writing, dance, nursery school, Kindergarten, swimming lessons, wilderness survival skills (don’t ask…), and I even taught in a long-tem sub position as a Junior High Gym teacher. I get super awesome bonus karma points for getting through that last one. I have enormous respect for teachers of all kinds. It’s a calling, not a job. I’ll teach anyone anything I can one on one, but the idea of teaching—teaching anything—to a group has lost it’s allure. Maybe I burned myself out on it, and it will come back around?
2. I’ve haven’t practiced long enough.
I started 17 years ago. I don’t think I’m ready yet. Okay, I always feel like I have to qualify this—I have not had an active practice for 17 years. I took my first yoga class at 18. I didn’t immediately dive into a daily practice, or even a weekly practice. Yoga and I have been on-again, off-again lovers for years. Sometimes I would stray and immerse myself in running, more dance classes or something in the martial arts family (usually after watching Kill Bill or an old kung fu movie). But I always come back. The past few years I’ve started digging deeper, physically and spiritually, but I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. How could I possibly be ready to teach anyone else?
People also hear 17 years and think, “Wow! You must be phenomenal now.” Yeah, not so much. The past few years have been my most faithful, but I still wrestle with certain asanas (I’m looking at you, Pincha Mayurasana). Plus, with all the time I spend on my laptop making my neck and shoulders unhappy, my practice just sort of cancels that out instead of putting me ahead in the flexibility department.
3. I don’t really see myself as a “Yoga Girl.”
I’m more of a Writer Girl who also does yoga. I love yoga. It changed so much of my inner and outer life. And yeah, I rock my mala beads sometimes. I love my TOMS. I love a lot of the “yoga girl” trappings. And more importantly—I practice most days. I usually take one or two days off a week. But I don’t know if I’d say it defines me. I’m sure there are people who know me who categorize me that way. But realistically, it’s a small but integral piece of the whole me. I can’t imagine not having an asana practice but…I feel a little selfish about it. It’s something I do for me. It’s an area of my life where I like to receive and learn. Not sure if I want that to change.
4. Sometimes I roll my eyes when people say Namaste.
C’mon. You know what I mean. It’s a beautiful expression. I say it in class and I embrace the attitude fully. But sometimes…ugh. We’ve all met someone who can be the bitchiest of the sanctimonious yoga bullies and then tack a little namaste “Love ‘n Light” on the end to soften the blow. It’s the yoga community equivalent of saying something mean and slapping one of those stupid emoticons on the end. Hi, I’m about to be an assh*le, but since I put a semi-colon and close parentheses on the end, it’s all good! Namaste, motherf*ckers!
So, I say it sometimes, but only when it feels genuine. I’ve picked up my fair share of Sanskrit along my yoga journey. It’s useful knowledge to have and it enriches my practice, but it’s not cool lingo that makes me part of the yoga clique. I keep a namaste attitude in my heart instead of flashing the word around all the time so that people know I’m “spiritual.”
5. I don’t have to.
Everyone has those things inside that they have to do. That if they didn’t do them they’d just burst open. Teaching yoga isn’t that for me. I’m sure there are a lot of wonderful teachers whose passion is quiet and not a desperate burning need to teach. My plate is pretty full of the things that I just must do or I’ll burst. I’m not sure if I have room for more (or want to make room for more) this time around.
When I have something I need to write about, I just have to do it. Have to. When I watch someone moving, I immediately look at his posture, his musculature and think about how and where I would work on him during a massage. There are songs that come on that absolutely make me dance. Can’t possibly be still. And there are times when I absolutely have to be in Pigeon Pose and get out whatever seems to be stuck in my sacral chakra. There are times when without even thinking, I sink into Balasana and rest my head on the floor to leave the day behind for a few minutes. I need to practice, but I don’t have to teach.
But then, even as I write this there is a little tiny spark of “well, maybe someday…”
It’s like the act of saying “never going to do it” piques some part of me and won’t let me rule it out. Am I missing something? Tell me yoga teachers, do I need to put YTT on my bucket list? What do you love about it? Tell me why I have to do it.
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