Dear Yoga Student.

Via on Sep 19, 2013

Teacher to Student.

Today, I posted this letter on my Facebook “blog.”

I want my students to maintain a healthy perspective and understanding of my role as their teacher.

I know I’m not alone, many other teachers discourage their students from following them and placing them on a stage (where no one belongs). However, it happens every day and it is affecting the powerful influence of the yoga practice itself.

This is a call to all yoga teachers to keep our feet on the floor, and a call to all students to throw the pedestal away.

Dear Yoga Students,

Please stop wasting your precious time creating fantasies of how enlightened, perfect, spiritual, grounded, all knowing, guru-ed out, sexy and mysterious your sweaty, scantily-clad Lululemon-ed yoga teacher is.

Sweaty and scantily clad, I’ll give you—the rest is all in your mind.

Do not throw away another moment thinking, “My yoga teacher is so much more in tune with himself/herself than I am. I wish I could be more like him/her. I love how sensitive, warm and attentive he/she is toward me. Maybe I should leave my marriage and be with a man/woman who does yoga, then I’ll be happy. Everything will be perfect.” (This cliche is reality, it happens more than you think.)

I’ll let you in on a little secret—(the majority of) yoga teachers are the most insecure, confused, lost, egotistical and wounded human beings alive. We may not show it, we may do everything to throw you off our scent, but we are.

In fact, you may not realize how vital your presence is in our classes. You are feeding our need for validation. You help us feel important. The more of you there are, the better we feel about ourselves and when you don’t show up, it affects us.

So the next time you think your teacher holds the power, understand it is the other way around—you are the powerful one.

Enjoy our sequences. Shazam our playlists. Learn the name of a muscle or two. Maybe pick up some Sanskrit along the way, but then roll up your mat and get on with your life. Go have lunch with your friends. Take your kids to the park. Make love to your husband and thank him for being by your side and supporting you.

You are your own teacher. You are your own expert.

We deserve no pedestal, no accolade, no special treatment. We are no better than you. We are no less confused than you. We are no smarter than you. We are no more spiritual than you.

Just because we can hold a handstand does not mean we are any more enlightened than you. It just means we can hold a handstand. Big deal.

We are teachers of yoga. We are people who found a method, a tool which helps us feel just a little bit better about ourselves, and we became teachers (originally) to help you feel the same. That’s it.

By Rebecca Lammersen

 

Originally published on The Huffington Post

 

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

 

Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

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About Rebecca Lammersen

Rebecca Lammersen is the founder of Yogalution, a donation based yoga studio in Scottsdale, AZ. I love being alive. I love being a mother. I love teaching yoga. I love to write. I love to know. I love to not know. I love to learn. I love to listen. I love to read. I love to travel. I love to dance. I love to help. I love to serve. That pretty much sums me up. Check out Rebecca's website and her articles at The Huffington Post. Subscribe to Rebecca's feed and never miss a post!

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10 Responses to “Dear Yoga Student.”

  1. Joe Sparks says:

    In my perspective if you set up healthy boundaries this will be less likely to happen. What has worked well at my studio is our policy of no dating or socializing with students. Yoga teachers need to hang out with peers, not students. This will prevent a lot of acting out. Group activities are okay. It is no secret that most everyone is confused in the area of relationships, teachers and students. I think yoga can help folks grow out of their timidities and fears of being a teacher and leading people. We can create a space were it is safe to be vulnerable and open, we cannot make anyone feel better, only invite, encourage and allow that to happen, when that person is ready. I have relaxed high expectations of my students at their own speed. WE must learn to be compassionate and caring, and think well of our students.

    • Joe, Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your method and I am happy it is working well for you. Maybe you could write a piece about how you were able to effectively integrate and enforce the 'no dating' policy in your studio? Do your teachers abide by it? Is it based on an honor system? It would be helpful to many teachers and studio owners to hear your perspective and the action you have taken to ensure the emotional well being of your students and teachers are not compromised. Thank you again, Rebecca

  2. Pat McKenney says:

    Bravo, Rebecca Lammersen …. Diogenes can rest!!!!

  3. Erica Leibrandt Erica says:

    I really love this. Thank you, from a fellow flawed instructor.

  4. Will says:

    Beautifully said. Loved this piece. Thank you Rebecca!

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