The Juiciest & Truthiest Truths about Teaching Yoga. {Nudity}

Via on Apr 26, 2012
(Salvador Dali)

“All spiritual practices are illusions created by illusionists to escape illusion.” ~ Ram Dass

 s a t y a: hard core truth telling (even when it hurts)

It’s 11:30 p.m. and I’ve been up since half past five this morning. I did one headstand today. It lasted for five minutes. It was a spontaneous construction thanks to Spotify and a song that begged me to exit the infinity of my incessant computer vortexing. The song was something off my new favorite jam called the Tel Aviv Sessions.

“Music is everything,” said Jack Kerouac. I happen to agree.

Truthiest Truth: Sometimes I go a whole day without doing one downward facing dog.

I create amazing playlists and mentally articulate yoga sequences all the time. I can’t really say the same enthusiasm would exist if artistically rendering a class to music wasn’t an option. I have been known to upset the classical practitioners at my local Ashram. They tell me to practice to the sound of Nadam, not Van Morrison.

My love for leading classes and practicing Asana must be conditional.

I thought about downward facing dog all day. I was too busy writing newsletters, booking events, creating artful flyers for the aforementioned events, and answering a myriad of emails, voice mails, and snail mails to involve myself in the juicy ritual.

I did, however, manage to enviously peruse a zillion Facebook posts revealing hot women in seemingly unrealistic yoga postures via a gorgeous Pacific ocean landscape. The aftermath of my voyueristic gluttony left me feeling fat and geographically challenged.

Truthiest Truth: Envy is a nicer word for jealousy. Teaching yoga has taught me how to tip toe around specific terminology.

(R O B E R T O)

I obsess over everything: what I say, what I think, how I feel, what I eat. This heightened self awareness delivered by my Yogic awakening is something I refer to as spiritual narcissism. I annoy me most of the time.

Truthiest Truth: Ignorance is sugar-coated bliss. Living in an awakened state all the time is completely exhausting. Teaching from the perspective of my pre-yoga slumber may have been much more enjoyable, but I realize the insomnia associated with the awakening will never be satiated by going back to sleep. Ugh.

“Once your mind has been stretched by a new idea, it never regains its original dimension.”

            ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I used to spend an entire day field-tripping to Yoga classes with my Yoga girlfriends. I rationalized the hundreds of dollars I spent on Masters Classes, bridges and tolls, post class lunches, and pedicures as a cosmic tax write-off for my budding career as a Yoga teacher. (Hmph, how I miss those days.)

Truthiest Truth: Taking class and teaching class are two totally different edibles that breed different fruit, but they tell us to not be attached to the fruits of our actions. That always sounds like yet another cosmic tax write-off to me.

                  

(I was supposed to be in downdog. There were a lot of things I was supposed to be doing in this class but wasn’t.)

“How can we not be attached when after all we’re only human?” said Van Morrison. I happen to agree.

Teaching a 90-minute Yoga class for less than 50 bucks to 35 secretly scrutinizing adults of which 10 will tell you they loved it while the other 25 will leave the room after a kindish Om Shantih—only to analyze  your ass and your playlist the whole way home—feels something like a pre-pubescent nightmare where your brand new relationship with pimples, budding boobs, and all things awkward refuse to go unnoticed and leave you face-first in a pillow of your own dismay, for an entire afternoon.

My Truthiest and Juiciest Truth is This: I teach to learn. And while I may no longer fall down in hand stand, I fall from grace all the time and my Ego is constantly getting in my own way. Surrendering the fruits of my actions and offering my class as an act of selfless service helps keep me humble… most of the time.

I still don’t have it all figured out. There is no formal training that can prepare a person to become a Yoga teacher. We are always becoming.

Truthiest Truth: A Yoga teacher is just as human as you are. They eat junk food, fight with their lover and they may be confused by love or the lack thereof. They have dark thoughts and depressed moments that no mantra can cure, and may sometimes go three whole days without doing one sun salutation.

Befriending your Yoga teacher will probably prove disenchanting if you wish to view them as an anomalous rendition of humanity.

(Via Tumblr)

I liken myself to more of a cosmic tour guide transporting students to a dimension that they may not travel to on their own. I enjoy being in a collective consciousness wherein a mission toward peace is the unifying force.

The deepest Truthiest and perhaps Juiciest Truth I’ve got is this:

We’re all hanging out in the world of Karma together. If we really want to buy into the virtues of our Namaste greetings and salutations, we must have some belief in the notion that were all cracked from the same cosmic egg; we share the same flaws, insecurities, and jealousies.

I’m perfectly imperfect and want to remain this way while I continue to evolve. I want to have fun. I want to be insecure. I want to fall down and make really big mistakes. I want my collasol mistakes to be followed by weeping hours of cathartic forgiveness sessions. I want to touch the sun and show others how to do the same. And all the while, I want to not want anything at all…

I’ll close with a quote from Ram Dass, who instructed me to teach yoga when all I yearned to do was paint pretty pictures on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean:

“We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.”

 

I Love You.

Love,

The Black Dirt Goddess

 

 Inspired by Robert Sturman’s Truthier Truth about Yoga Teachers:

I love you too Mr. Sturman.

I mixed-tape love you. 

 ~

Editor: Andrea B.

 

~ Like elephant yoga, elephant culture & elephant sexy on Facebook. ~

About Michelle Dawson

Michelle Dawson is a prolific Body Artist who hails from the Black Dirt region of Upstate NY. She combines the ancient arts of Henna and Yoga as a means of reaching the sacred poise of Body and Mind. Referring to her craft as Body Art by Michelle, she owns and operates a Yoga studio in Chester, NY. Her self-appointed title is Black Dirt Goddess and her goal is to deliver Art to Asana and return Asana to the Arts. She lives by a mantra from Rainer Marie Rilke: "No Great art has ever been created without the artist having known some real danger." Michelle can be found adorning appendages anywhere from NYC streets to Holy festivities in grandiose temples: she believes that every body was created for the satiation of the Artist. www.bodyartbymichelle.com

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16 Responses to “The Juiciest & Truthiest Truths about Teaching Yoga. {Nudity}”

  1. MamasteNJ says:

    The truthiest truth has never been spoken with such aplomb. Thank you BDG, for articulating, in such a beautiful way, the *real* Dharma of a teacher, yoga or otherwise. And a heartfelt thanks, to teachers everywhere, for taking this cosmic journey with me.
    Om Shanti Shanti
    ~Mamaste

  2. Andréa Balt says:

    Truthy truth has never sounded juicier. Standing on my head as I type this. So uncomfortable. But I enjoy being perfectly flawed.

    Posted to "Featured Today" on elephant culture.

    Andréa Balt, editor elephant culture.
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  3. Thank you so much for this Michelle. Your words truly are a gift to all students and teachers of yoga. You have written what many choose not to recognize!!

    Just the other day I was in a yoga class and at the end of it when everyone said "Namaste" (which means in so many words "my light acknowledges the light in you") what I was REALLY thinking towards the teacher was.. "My light recognizes that your light kind of needs a new bulb."

    That was/is my truth.

    Your fellow elephant,
    Lauren

  4. Joseph Rodriguez says:

    We all search for people to inspire us. When we realize that our heroes and heroines have their own struggles, we can use this to contemplate the human condition. Then we can finally begin the work of taking full responsibility for ourselves instead of trying to get others to do that work for us. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for knowing you are perfectly imperfect.

  5. Shawna says:

    Lovely. Thanks for this article. As a new'ish yoga instructor this post really hits home with me. While I read and write and think and dream about yoga all day, there are days, and days when I don't get into my own practice. Where my teaching is the only yoga I do that day, and for the most part the only thing I'm exercising is my blab factor. You totally put all my thoughts into words. Wonderful!

  6. thirtydaysofyoga says:

    I mixed-tape love you; best. line. ever!

    • Black Dirt Goddess says:

      it is a good line. i must admit, i use it a lot ….just because of its perfect ability to deliver …

  7. Tiana says:

    Thank you for saying out loud what we feel within! I too obsess over everything I say, think, feel, eat. Is this a heightened awareness or an exaggerated sense of self? I too can refer to as “spiritual narcissism” and yes, I annoy myself most of the time.

    Thank you Michelle for this “hardcore truth telling”: it is beautifully honest, humble, relieving and comforting.
    Jai Ma!
    Tiana

  8. juliahelenrice0110 says:

    Great Rilke quotation! Here's my favorite of his: "Whoever you are: some evening take a step out of your house, which you know so well. Enormous space is near… " Or in the same vein, here's one from Andrew Wyeth: "I think one's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes."

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