November 1, 2011

So, You Wanna Be a Yoga Teacher. ~ Georgie Abel

 Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on October 26, 2011. 

So, you wanna be a yoga teacher.

By Georgie Abel

So, you wanna be a yoga teacher. Ah yes, I can remember back to that time—so hopeful and starry-eyed. Well, before you embark on your journey (and yes, you should start calling it a “journey” too; it sounds really inspiring), you should know that recently there has been a lot of talk about how yoga teacher training courses aren’t producing teachers that are capable of running a safe and effective yoga class. And honestly, I couldn’t agree more. Just look at the curriculum: anatomy, sequencing, safety, breathing, adjustments, Sanskrit, blah de fucking blah. Believe me, none of that shit is actually gonna help you when it comes to teaching a real life yoga class. So to make sure you are fully prepared, here are the things that I wish I learned in teacher training

1.  People make weird faces while doing yoga… and how to not laugh at them.
Most people look like they’re either 1.) gassy or 2.) having an orgasm after watching really weird porn.
2.  You’re probably gonna see a ball sack or two… and how not to stare.
Maybe even a penis if your karma is really fucked up that day. Once it comes into your line of vision, it will be so disturbing that you won’t be able to look away. To be ball sack and penis safe, stay away from poses like Happy Baby. But when it comes to nipple slips and tons of luon-outlined vaginas, well, there’s just no getting away from those.
3.  You’re gonna know some of your students deepest, darkest, most embarrassing secrets… and how not to make fun of them.
You’ll see a leopard-print thong peeking out of the top of that serious, business-y-looking dude’s shorts, a Slayer tattoo on that sorority girl’s lower back.
4.  There will be students that call you out if you mess up a sequence or teach a pose that “Remember! They told you they hated that one!”… and how not to strangle them with a yoga strap.
Or hit them over the head with a Buddha statue.
5.  You will start to judge everyone who doesn’t do yoga… and how to not appear like the egotistical bitch that you are.
If a friend tells you about a problem they’re having, you’ll say that the only thing that could possibly help them is yoga. Preferably, your Detox class on Wednesday nights.
6.  You will go through a short but intense phase of being a luluWhore… and how to pull yourself out of the inevitable depression that follows.
You’ll spend all of your money on lululemon clothing, mats, towels, waterbottles, and boobie tassles (scheduled to come out next spring, but you’ve already got them pre-ordered). You’ll be broke and the only thing to your name will be a ton of semi-slutty workout clothes.
7.  You will deny things like ever having eaten meat, that you smoke weed by yourself sometimes, that your nickname is SuperSlooter, that you still use phrases like “shitty titties,” or that you once took shots of tequila before the kirtan… and how to keep doing these things without getting caught.
If anyone figures out how to pull this off, email me directly.
8.  You will realize that behind the scenes, yoga studios have more gossip and shit talking than anywhere else… and how not to ask MTV for a reality show contract.
It will be tempting.
9.  There will be students who want to have sex with you… and how not to have sex with them because they probably have chlamydia.
All of the sudden you’re some sex symbol because you stand at the front of a classroom and tell people what to do with their bodies. The students that approach you will be the devastatingly horny ones, so watch out. Unless you’re into that stuff.
10.  You will think that you’ve found your True Self… and how not to believe that shit for a second.
You’re a vegetarian trying to be a vegan but just can’t give up cheese quite yet. You drink coconut water and almond milk by the gallon. You practice yoga twice a day and meditate every hour. You know the Yoga Sutras by heart and recite them to random people on the subway. You don’t really shower anymore. You buy really dumb shirts that say “Ganesh is Fresh” and “Spiritual Gangster” and wear them to public places just so everyone knows that you are, without doubt, really enlightened. You take shots of wheatgrass before the kirtan. Patanjali ain’t got shit on you. This will happen. And you’ll think that this is You, the Real You, the Highest You. But believe me, it isn’t. The highest you was the free range meat-eating you, the one that had to look up how to pronounce lululemon and thought that kombucha tasted like stomach acid, the you that did questionable things with that guy from Sales at the office Christmas party and sometimes made a cake just to eat the batter. The you that did yoga because it made you feel awesome and thought that working in your garden was a perfectly acceptable form of meditation. The you that didn’t feel like a shitty person for not being all yoga-like.

So above all, what I wish I had learned in teacher training was that the world of yoga is full of contradiction and bullshit how not to fall for every last word of it.

About Georgie Abel

Georgie is a San Francisco Bay Area writer, rock climber, teacher and student of yoga, music nerd, adventurous soul, creative mind, curious world traveler, and lover of the outdoors. She is currently entirely confused about what to do with her life and loving every second of it. Visit Georgie at http://georgieabel.com

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