I Am Just a Yoga Teacher.

Via Amy Cushing
on Sep 11, 2013
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I arrive early and roll out my mat.

I greet wide-eyed new students with a smile and laugh with those who return week after week.

I don’t wear Lululemon or Donna Karan sweat pants or own a Manduka mat. Not that I would mind, there’s simply no room for expensive style in our family budget.

I do still treasure my eight-year-old Be Present crops adorned with an embroidered pink orchid. Those are quality. They were purchased when being carefree was more the way of life.

I am not skinny or incredibly bendy and I cannot float from crow to handstand to plank. But I can do each individually, slowly and mindfully, and can show you how to improve your own practice.

Is that a fat roll you see as I demonstrate parsvakonasana? Yes. Maybe two, in fact; a product of carrying two babies and having little time for myself these days. I’ll work on finding a washboard ab or two once the kids don’t need me so much. I’m OK with it. Are you?

And wrinkles? No those aren’t wrinkles, they’re imprints of a life lived.

I could care less about your pedicure. My own 10-minute home pedi isn’t the best either. I’m more interested in the position of your foot.

I note your shoulder scar, your curved spine, your swollen knee—not to judge your appearance, but to give you a safe practice.

I may see and hear things that are personal. And they will stay that way.

Some days I may look a bit tired, likely from being up all night with one of my children or trying to fit 30 hours into a 24-hour day. Please, bear with me. I have arrived to give my best and I will do just that.

I may laugh at my fumbled words or missteps; it is part of who I am.

I can help you feel a little better, breathe a little easier and guide you toward a meditation practice, but I won’t promote a guru.

I don’t have a guru. I don’t want a guru.

But I have great teachers who have inspired me on my path. I hold them close to my heart and they are a part of the practice I share with you.

Despite a decade of practice, my yoga journey is a continuing lesson. Each day I learn more of the wisdom that surrounds it. I will do my best to always be a student as well as a teacher.

I am just a yoga teacher who teaches at the local studio up the street.

I may not be cover model flawless or the vision of yoga teacher perfection, but I am a teacher.

And that’s perfect enough for me.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{Source: ashtangaireland.com via Amy on Pinterest}


About Amy Cushing

Amy Cushing is a stay-at-home mom and E-RYT® 200 certified yoga teacher pursuing her passion for writing. When she’s not chasing around two small tots, she can be found lost in a good book, cherishing quality time with her husband or having a much-needed laugh with her girlfriends. She’s on a mission to find simplicity in life so she can spend less time pulling out her hair and more time appreciating those who matter most. She loves yoga and music and has been known to bust out a mean rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider in times of chaos. She holds a B.S. in Political Science and an M.A. in English from Northern Arizona University. Connect with Amy on Facebook or Twitter.


88 Responses to “I Am Just a Yoga Teacher.”

  1. Sheila says:


  2. kat robinson says:

    Beautiful! going to share on my wall, let's see how many people we can get this message to ! 🙂 <3

  3. Torrey says:

    Beautifully written and for many of us yoga teachers…. our truth.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you Torrey! I sometimes feel like us teachers in the trenches are underrepresented even though we're the ones who spend the most time directly with students. We deserve a shout out now and then too.

  4. Scott says:

    Love it! I'm just a guy. My wife drug me to a yoga class 5 or 6 years ago and it was absolutely NOT for me. Boy have
    I learned a thing or two since then. I have been practicing since Jan '13 and I have two yoga teachers that mean a great deal to me. Amys attitude is certainly the kind attitude in an instructor I'd like to add to my sessions!

  5. Nicola says:

    Wonderful, just as it should be. I love my 6 year old Be Present Crops too!

  6. Carrie says:

    Love this! Thank you from a fellow AZ yogi and Ele Journal contributor. 🙂

    • Amy says:

      Thank you Carrie! I think I may have edited your last article, http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/the-relati…. An excellent piece, and something I plan to do soon. I enjoy social media, but sometimes it leaves me feeling a little cross-eyed. Don't know if I'll be able to build an amazing tree house like you did, but I could certainly use more time with my kids.

  7. Carolyn Riker says:

    Amy, this is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you with all my heart! Much love, I am just a Yoga student.

  8. Vanessa says:

    OMG this could of been me writing this article…… This is my life to a T!
    Such a humbling read…. And what's funny is I have those same Be Present yoga pants mine are at least 10 years old and I still wear ….
    Thank you for this article it is so lovely x
    And guess what I am just a yoga teacher!

    • Amy says:

      Thank you Vanessa! That means a lot. Yea, I don't think I'll ever get rid of those Be Present pants. They're my ol' stand-bys.

  9. Natalie LEach says:

    Love this! Thank you!

  10. Bonnie says:

    Yes thank you….that is beautifully worded…xxx

  11. Kristin says:

    Perfect. Thank you Amy.

  12. jenniferbasch says:

    4 years ago today I began my teacher training so nervous and unsure where it would lead – it was one step forward on a good path. This sums me up so well! Thank you for your words!

    • Amy says:

      I was the same in my early teaching days. Those were nervous days, like you said, but good days. I've learned so much along the way. Thank you for the support!

  13. Briget says:

    I love this. I started doing yoga with Lilias on TV in the early 70's when she was the only yoga game in town, and I'm still more interested in a practice that keeps me flexible (in every way) than in the proliferation of hype that obscures the things that drew me in the first place. You obviously have a handle on those and I'll bet your students appreciate it!

    • Amy says:

      I agree Briget! Obscurity just messes it all up, and creates the veil we try to avoid when we practice. The simpler, the better. Thank you for your kind words!

  14. Olivia says:

    The first article I have read on this site that I actually liked…

  15. Jann says:

    Love it ! <3

  16. Robyn says:

    Beautiful woman, inside and out.

  17. cathy says:

    Love my yoga teachers!

  18. Amy, this is really beautiful. Great work.

  19. Monica says:

    Fantastic, right on!

  20. Jennifer says:

    Truly beautiful. You’d

    have just described my teacher. Thank you for this beautiful picture of a teacher’s heart.

  21. Yvette says:

    Loved your little piece-it is just simply identical how I would describe myself:-) I dont have a £200 swarowski crystal yoga mat ( cant believe someone would actually buy such a thing) , my mani- pedi is diy and always chipped nail varnish- low push ip doesnt agree with perfectly varnished nails,my outfits have a lovely soft shade of grey ( no longer black jersey) , have a bit of belly& breast issue in downdog ( 2 kids) , i dont think of myself as a shining star- the only thing that outstanding is my passion for what I do- and I am just totally fine with that!

  22. Leni says:

    What a refreshing contrast to the narcissistic yogis trying to build up their ego with yoga and spirituality. The ones for whom yoga is the end all and be all because they have nothing else in their lives.

  23. Diana says:

    So great!

  24. Jenn Falk says:

    YESSS!! I am with you, 100% fellow mama. Beautiful.

  25. Misty says:

    I can sooooo relate (even though I don't have kids). Thank you for putting it out there.

  26. Annamaria tizzone says:

    Thank you for your beautiful writing….

    Esp the part about not having a guru…and not needing o be a guru..

    Your beautiful gift as made my day as reminded me why I have stepped on o my mat to teach or to play….

    Thank you

  27. Sarit says:

    This is truly beautiful. Thank you.

  28. Robin says:

    Nice piece!! I’m not the “picture perfect” yoga teacher (whatever that means) either, but my intentions are to help people, & I feel good contributing to others despite my “flaws” :). Through life’s journey, we cross paths with all types of people, each with their own story, weaving into ours. I feel the more I can contribute, the richer the colors in the tapestry become. When I feel ok w/ myself, I can ckearly see those colors; on tough days when I’m beating myself up for whatever (including my asana practice at times), the brightness fades.

  29. Ann Clyde says:

    Just more validation that being who we are no matter how we show up is enough…thank you for your honesty…it is always an act of courage to step on our mats…one moment at a time..

  30. karly says:

    so lovely and truthful…it might as well be my life that you are describing!

  31. Patricia says:

    Well said!!

  32. So beautiful Amy. This is yoga. X

  33. Anon says:

    Thank you thank you. So much love….

  34. Paulina says:

    Thank you so much

  35. Sarah says:

    Lovely! Thank you! A yoga teacher who is genuinely doing their best! Who could honestly ask for more! No gurus! They seem to fall apart anyway – something about worshipping someone else's inner wisdom instead of your own seems fundamentally flawed to me. Helping people to recoonect to theirs through movement and presence. You're doing a great job!

    • @amydcushing says:

      Thank you Sarah! I sometimes think that which makes us imperfect also makes us relatable. Perfection is unattainable and striving for it can create distance and disconnection. I do my best to try to be genuine. Not sure how well I do, but it do try. Thank you for your comments!

  36. Michelle Marchildon says:

    I liove this too! Live and let live people.

  37. I love this! I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you.

  38. lisalooleeli says:

    I absolutely love this right here.

  39. mikeofdc says:

    camouflaged judgment … where the clothes you like, practice the way you like … lots of different yoga for lots of different yoga student and teachers ….

    • @amydcushing says:

      Hi Mike! It's unfortunate that you feel I was disguising judgment. I did my best to be as honest and authentic as possible. At one point, I considered taking out the "guru" part as to not offend, but left it in because that is who I am. I wrote the article in response to a student who was judging me more on my appearance rather than my ability to teach. So was I throwing judgment? Yes, at myself. But I was making a genuine statement that in my class, and surely many others around the world, appearance does not matter. Thank you for your comments.

  40. Cris says:

    I loved your post! I've been practicing yoga for 7 years and now I'm stumbling trying to get my RYT-200, mostly for geographic and schedule reasons (I have two children too and I have to travel to Mexico City to complete my teacher training). Sometimes I've had to interrupt my group practice altough I still doing the best I can at home, alone or with my kids. _However, some friends have sugested me to begin teaching in some places and I joke saying it should be a pregnancy class, so I can explain my belly (Hahaha!). _Reading you gave me relief and joy! maybe I can keep stumbling into my certification (and crow pose…) and accept a Little fat roll (or two!) here and there, Thank you for your words and honesty.

    • @amydcushing says:

      Wow, Cris, thank you! I'm so glad to hear my words connected with you. You'll reach your goals soon enough, I'm sure of it. Thanks again and good luck with your certification!

  41. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing. And what Leni said. Refreshing to be honest and humble. I feel this way many days.

  42. Bernie says:

    I love your post! I do have to say that I share many of your qualities, they are qualities. And at the end of the day, your student who has felt so much better after your class, considers you way more than ‘just’ a yoga teacher! You are an inspiration to me, just because of your post! Thank you

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