What Your Yoga Teacher Really Thinks about You.

Via on Jun 12, 2012

Want to know how we really feel about you?

You walk into class and maybe your day is still clinging to your thoughts; maybe it’s still registered in your body. Perhaps your mind is entangled with the argument with your spouse, or you’re stressed from coping with your angry boss, and perhaps still frazzled by your child’s decision to smear poop in his hair.

Maybe you’re relieved to be here in class with me, or maybe you’re already sizing up those around you or even yourself to pre-judge what you think your practice will look like that day.

As we begin, maybe you feel sluggish, unfocused, inflexible, and unrooted. Maybe you self-consciously pull your shirt down when it sneaks up in half moon. Maybe you re-fix your hair midway through class, more so because you think it looks too messy instead of it just being in the way. Maybe you feel awkward for being one of the only male/overweight/underweight/(insert other lame self-imposed yoga class criticisms here) bodies in the room.

Hey you. Yes, you. I’ve got news for you.

I think you’re beautiful.


 I think you are beautiful in every single way possible. I think the fact that you showed up today was amazing, and I think when I see you often, showing up and working hard, you’re amazing. You’re amazing when you’re drenched in sweat, even when your shirt moves in all sorts of directions that drive you nuts. You’re amazing when you struggle to find your drishti and then do and have peace. You’re amazing when you try to weasel your way into a pose more deeply and fall out, pushing your edge instead of staying comfortably complacent to keep things copacetic. And maybe you’re most amazing when you honor your body and come down to child pose because you are so connected at that second, you know it’s where you need to be

You are amazing for just being you, for showing up and doing your best to set aside the “humanness” of life, the little frets and worries and aches and pains, to just be present. All I can think of is how humbled I am to have you there in my class, sweating and flowing and occasionally truly breathing and basking in moments of stillness. I’m awed to have your presence with mine, to be fortunate enough to witness your efforts and your spiritual transcendence right in front of me. I’m blown away that I’m the tour guide on today’s journey and you have come to spend the time with me as we explore what is and what will be.

While you are perhaps judging yourself, your practice, your neighbor’s practice, I am only loving on the beautiful energy you bring to class. I’m in adoration of the glowing love that comes forth from you, whether you see it or not, to make this place a sacred space for us all.

Yes, I’m still talking about you.

And I’m not alone. Other teachers feel this way too. We are collectively humbled and honored by your mere existence. Sometimes we tear up at the mere thought that we get to be tour guides on this most magical journey with the most magical people, such as yourself.

We know sometimes life is hectic, but please, keep coming. Keep taking care of yourself from the outside in and the inside out. And we will be here loving you just the same. Every single class.

‘Til next time…






Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Kristin Althea

Kristin M. Althea, M.Ac., L.Ac., loves to poke and stretch and heal things through the power of 5 Element Acupuncture, Yin Yoga, Qigong, and Chinese Herbs at her practice at Red Lotus Acupuncture Center, LLC. She aims to guide her patients and students on a path to rediscover their own inner journey. Beyond that, her sarcastic yet warm-fuzzy self lives in coastal NC with her adorable pug Jaya and a slew of houseplants. She can be connected to via facebook or via email at kristin [at] redlotusacupuncture [dot] com.



24 Responses to “What Your Yoga Teacher Really Thinks about You.”

  1. lardown says:

    Your words are like those of a benevolent Queen who blesses and loves every person and thing in her kingdom. Namaste.

  2. Vision_Quest2 says:

    When what was described happens by a yoga teacher, in your yoga class, to an extreme–it's called countertransference.

    It's rare. It's cherished by me. And it's priceless.

    It happened in a non-sweaty, throwback mild hatha class, so some of what was mentioned in the article did not apply to my experience.

  3. melancholy says:

    thank you so much for this… it actually made me cry. as a yoga student who constantly struggles with her confidence and her negative thinking, I tend to think that teachers probably roll their eyes the minute I walk into the studio, so what you wrote here was an extremely sweet and warm insight into a teacher's mind (oh and it's not that I REALLY think my teachers would roll their eyes… otherwise I would probably not come back every single day, it's just my weird mind playing tricks on me and I do know that ;))

  4. Taisa says:

    This is beautiful! I just recently started teaching and this is truly how I feel. Basking and sharing in expansive love, light and sweat together. Thanks for spreading this important and delicious message!

  5. erin crawford says:

    perfect:) well said sista

  6. yogasamurai says:

    Kristen, you sound like a dedicated teacher – but with all due respect it doesn't really matter what the yoga teacher thinks.

    If there weren't "transference" to begin with – which is not essential for learning yoga – there would be no need to worry about whether "counter-transference" has occurred.

    This is largely a "girl" problem – but it's a serious one. Having psycho-therapeutic dynamics occur in a setting where the consumer is often blissfully unaware of what's coming out of them — and the teacher, prone to his or her own heady ego trip, is teaching without a therapeutic license, is a precarious setting.

    Right here, in fact, are the seeds of emotional and psychological abuse – and it's occurring every day in thousands of studios nationwide, and in extreme cases, in entire movements like Dahn Yoga, Anusara Yoga, Forrest Yoga, Michael Roach's Buddhist cult, and the list is growing.

    Frankly, this is one good reason that we need a more professional, therapeutically trained, and accredited yoga teacher corps. That training and credentialing should occur completely outside the commercial and personal "branding" environments of the privately owned studios.

    There's no good reason for the studios at all – not to learn or to study yoga. Zilch. I see most of them like banks or businesses that come in to "prey" on local communities. The real estate industry loves them, because they tend to gentrify neighborhoods right behind the new yoga studio – just as they once did with "magnet" stores.

    Just ask them.

  7. YES!!! This is what keeps me coming back to the mat in front of others is sheer joy at watching people learn and absorb. I don't teach asana heavy classes anymore and sometimes I love my students the most when they open an eye during meditation or look totally lost when discussing philosophy … I love them when they look all relaxed and glassy eyed after nidra…I love that they want to learn and try and be…I love how much they teach me… This was an awesome post — and I am so relieved, I almost didn't click on it because I was afraid of what direction it was going to go…thank you for surprising :)

  8. Yogasamurai & Shamanic_Rite: Thanks for your comments. I see where you are going with this whole thing, I think, and agree to a certain extent. I do. I also think it is up to the students to do their own self work, self practice (the parts of yoga beyond the asanas) to really expand their practice. I try to teach that and hear other teachers doing the same.

    Too, it is also important for teachers to not let egos get the best of them, but rather to continue to teach from the heart and realize that we really are mere tour guides on a journey that is not ours. We are just a part of the experience too. Good teachers don't get caught up in the whole "scene" but keep letting their hearts shine through their teachings and keep working to help others grow.

    I do think yoga is in a funny place at times, caught between being a "machine" which pumps out an image of beauty and serenity versus the truth of inner, more meaningful beauty. There is there is a fine line between people trying to sink into something deeper and people trying to just look better in their matching expensive yogawear. I look at my job, as a teacher, as one of offering students an ability to find a space where they feel comfortable in my class, where they can perhaps learn something physically or emotionally, and hopefully it serves as a spring board which can launch them into a better, deeper version of themselves, wherever that may be. I truly find teaching to be humbling and find it liberating to watch people show up and commit to something greater, and I do my best to keep the vibe as organic as possible. Some people might be coming for the "wrong" reasons (as I feel you allude to) but it is not up to me to bend everyone into what I feel is "right" thinking, rather, to just offer an experience that will hopefully spark some sort of light or "ah ha"-edness in the folks in front of me. I think the best I can do is keep a space where new ideas can be explored, for some people come to the mat for the first time just gaining some semblance of awareness of their bodies and how they feel emotionally and physically. I think home practices are gorgeous things, but groups can be phenomenal. It can be quite empowering for a new yogi to start to open up to themselves in a safe space where that is happening for those around them, too. Learning that it's ok to cry during savasana is beautiful. Power in groups can be had, of course in bad ways but also in positive ways too, I think.

    In my humble opinion, the best teachers don't have a vibe of a particular studio or style, but rather are those who do a lot of self work and teach classes with a humble, empowering attitude. I always aspire to be better, and I think a lot of other teachers do too. I try to pump out love and try to come from a place of true goodness. I appreciate your comments very much, and hope you find some more inspirational teachers in your area and/or continue to develop the most delicious and blissful home practice the world has ever seen! Love to you both.

    ARC, thank YOUUUUUU!!! I love your comments, so so SO very true! It's the best job in the universe to get to be part of the beauty that unfolds in a person's practice. Completely addicting. :) And yes, something that could make a teacher cry beautiful tears of joy. I'm so very glad you clicked on this and commented back with your beautiful words too. Namaste!

  9. […] What Your Yoga Teacher Really Thinks about You. […]

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