A judging mind stifles authenticity.
My judging mind surfaced in an instructor-friend of mine’s workshop. I will refer to this instructor-friend as Potty Mouth (PM). PM bombarded us with f-bombs, dropping them one after another in this workshop.
Rattled, my body reacted to the f-bombs with the sensation of hot strikes of little lighting bolts. My mind began to chatter. I was deep in analytical mode. If any of my teacher trainers were here they would be floored, I thought. Then my mind began to mechanically process useless thoughts. The space for mindfulness was gone. I was lost in my head.
Suddenly, I came to a realization. I snapped out of it. Eureka, I got it! The f-bomb worked its magic. PM was not trying to offend anyone in class, but teach a lesson in judgment and authenticity in a colorful way.
In this moment, I saw how conditioned we allow ourselves to be.
We believe that using swear words is wrong. That in itself is a judgment, right?
Let us consider the other side. Have you ever had an experience of deep joy like biting into the most sumptuous feast? The only appropriate expression to punctuate the moment was, “f*ck me that was delicious!” Maybe you haven’t said it, but I’m sure you’ve felt it. So what’s the difference?
“Dork, dorky, nerd!” my siblings and I would banter liberally and playfully back in the day. “Knock it off!” my dad would reprimand my siblings and I. Was this crass and offensive?
What is the lesson? What is the mantra?
We give things meaning and believe it. We believe we need to do certain things in order to live a complete life. We believe we need to fit into some kind of projected image. The words are not the issue here. How we use our words is what really matters. Colorful words are merely my authentic, momentary expression. What you may hear as my truck driver’s mouth is actually a decoration. I am decorating my sentences with little gems that paint robust pictures to convey joy, excitement and my passion.
I shared my realization with PM. We came to the conclusion that our students understand the point of us using colorful language in class. If it’s authentic to you, then own it. Who gives a f*ck what people think. Got it? Seriously, we do spend a ton of time focusing on what doesn’t matter and giving things meaning. I really got the message.
I am liberated.
I feel great about who I am and what I bring to the yoga table in my life and my work. I am creating good karma. Look into your yoga community for authentic intentions and non-judgment.
As students, we are ripe and receptive to learning. We act upon the teachings and begin to integrate them into our lives. We create space and clarity about who you are.
Yogi beware. Judgmentcan send us back down the slippery slope to staying the same. Judgment reverts us to old thought patterns. Judgment can make us try to be something that we are not. Defy judgment. See your words before you put them out there. Pay attention to what creates your actions. Ask: “Do I need this? Does this new way of thinking support who I really am and where I am on my path? How are you using your words? Are they weapons? What is my intention behind this?” Respond positively and be content.
Yoga teachers are not sage-like beings who live off the grid, drink kombucha, and chant themselves to sleep. Okay maybe some do, but that does not make you less of a yogi.
The illusion of trying to create the perfect yogic life has the potential to leave students feeling alienated, disconnected and defeated. As instructors, it is unrealistic to hold the flame for everyone. We are there to share our experiences and perspectives and who we are. Own it! If you are a teacher demo something that is challenging for you, maybe fall out of a pose.
Indeed, the student is the real teacher. There is no need to put yoga teachers up on a pedestal. To practice non-judgment let go of expectations, be authentic, be real. After all I am who I am and you are who you are. Why does it have to change when we lead a class or take one?
I am just me. You get me. I don’t wear a yoga teacher hat for 75 minutes, then switch gears as if I’m a completely different person. When I’m outside the studio you get me. You get that I am breaking through ideals and expectations of what one should be like.
I love Nirvana and Kirtan. I love being in the moment. I rock checkered Vans and yoga pants all the time. I love passionate conversation. I love sharing things that I’m learning or have learned. I am humble. I practice non judgement. And I truly love when I am in the presence of others who allow their authentic selves to show.
This is who I am. Don’t judge me.
Isabelle Casey is a yoga instructor from Atlanta, GA. Her most profound teacher is life itself. You can learn more about her at www.isabellecasey.com.
Editor: Carrie Stiles
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