May 18, 2012

Is Your Yoga Teaching Doing Your Yoga for You? ~ Julia George

by Daku Resort, Savusavu Fiji

As a yoga teacher, I hear this frequently when socializing: “Oh, I used to do yoga all the time. I had this really great teacher, but she left and I haven’t been back.”

Does this mean your yoga teacher was doing the yoga for you?

I’ve recently taken on classes previously taught by a colleague. He’s an amazing practitioner, therapist and yoga teacher. When first asked, I went into a tail spin, knowing that I don’t teach in the same manner he does. I hadn’t been to any of his classes, and I made a deliberate decision not to go once I decided to begin teaching his classes. I can’t become something I’m not, so to ease the comparisons and my inner critic, I decided to stay grounded and teach from the place I always have.

I’m psychic and clairvoyant. That’s my day job. I love the gifts I have and sharing that space with people. So in the space of teaching a new class with new students, it is very easy for me to tune into the energy and thoughts of the class. It’s hard tuning out “My old teacher didn’t do that,” “Wow, I wish he didn’t give up this class,”  or “I wonder if I can leave.”

My job is to stay grounded and realize that this it is not about me.

I have been in the same position as these students myself. I used to practice religiously with one of my beloved mentors, Rebecca, from my studio back in Denver. It was very easy to stick with her classes, and only her classes.

When she moved on, there was a distinct energy I felt around going to other classes, knowing they didn’t practice as she did. That experience was a great revelation to my yoga teaching:  Hold the space for students to practice; don’t do the yoga for them.

If you have an attachment to your yoga teacher, ask yourself, why? What are you learning from your teacher? What space do they hold for you? Having an attachment to a teacher is not an issue but not going to yoga again if they leave is.

I personally love going to new classes. I revel in the experience new teachers and new classes bring to me. Yes, my inner critic is sometimes active:  “Oh, I love that,”  “I would never teach that”, or  “Wow, I’ll definitely integrate that into my class!”

For teacher and student both, mentorship is very important and at the very heart of any yoga practice.

As a student here are some reminders:

>> Hold on to your power! Feel free to interview new teachers (prior to class!) to see if you resonate with them. Where did they study? What’s their ethos?

>> Remember that only you can realize the answers to your soul searching. Allow your yoga practice, not your teacher, to help lead you there.

>> Be aware of your issues. Be aware of the energy you bring to each class.

>> Are you seeking a missing part of yourself from your yoga teacher? Do they have an energy or personality aspect that you need to integrate or bring home to yourself?

>> Are you star struck? Do you have the illusion that your yoga teacher is a perfect being and that you will never measure up? Are you just wanting to follow rather than do your own work to become the divine being that you already are?

>> Good yoga teachers help their students to become independent, by encouraging self exploration and an at home yoga practice. They may even encourage you to attend other classes that may benefit certain physical or yogic areas of growth.

>> The next time you attend a yoga class with a new teacher, hold the space of equanimity. Be open to the physical, emotional and spiritual experiences before you. What arises for you? Is it hard to be vulnerable to the unknown? Is it hard to not know what’s coming next?


Stay on your mat.

Be open.


JULIA GEORGE has been doing readings and working with clients for 20 years.  She has worked in Australia, London and Denver, Colorado. Julia is Clairvoyant + Clairaudient.  Julia is also a yoga instructor and meditation teacher and guide. Julia is on 4BC radio twice a month doing readings on air. Julia writes on Australian topics relating to yoga, sustainability/ environment and spirituality: www.homeoftheheart.com


Editor: April Dawn Ricchuito 

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