As a new yoga teacher, I have been confronted with insecurities, fears and doubts within myself that I wasn’t even aware were lurking behind the shadows.
With some time off over the holidays, I jumped at the opportunity to immerse myself in another teacher training. I approached the training with a beginner’s mind. Coming from a place of “unknowing” while staying soft and receptive allowed me to reflect on my first few months as a yoga teacher.
This contemplation made me realize I hadn’t been teaching from an authentic place. It’s as though I’d put up a brick wall between the students and I—simply for the fear of speaking my truth. It was my teacher Tara Judelle, who so precisely described the feelings I experienced of taking the seat of the teacher:
“The truth is, to stand up in front of a room full of strangers, and speak something that is from the depth of your heart, your truth, and your unique signature, somehow aims at the very core of who and what we are. All the fears of being unworthy, insignificant, not good enough or conversely our strategies to mask, entertain or control will all present themselves in the simple task of standing in front of a room full of people and speaking about something that is dear to our being.”
The training served as a reminder that yoga is the art of remembering our true self, our authentic being.
I am learning to sit with the fears that come up. I observe them, learn from them and teach with them—from a place of vulnerability. By showing my vulnerabilities I represent that yoga is a process and a perpetual practice, whether sitting in the seat of the student or the teacher.
Every contraction is followed by an expansion. The more I open, the more space I create for students to feel comfortable to show up on the mat as they are, and to connect within.
When fear seems to overwhelm me, I remind myself to connect—to reconnect. When I guide my students to ground, I ground. When they take a deep breath, I take a deep breath.
My role as a teacher is simply to invite students to tune inwards, to experience and embody this fullness of body, heart and mind; to connect to their true nature. And when a student comes up to me at the end of class to thank me, or to simply share an “ah-hah” moment they experienced on the mat—it makes it all worth it.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise