Why Aren’t You Teaching Yet? ~ Mike Graglia

Via elephant journal
on Aug 16, 2012
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I love teaching yoga. I love what I learn from my students, love to share the gifts given to me by my teachers and love sharing the expansion.

My favorite part of class is sitting in a dim room full of 20-40 still yogis deep in savasana, then sharing a powerful last “Om.” I love the strong friendships that have started in the brief conversations that happen after class. Yoga has taken over most of my life and I am sincerely grateful for that. Large parts of it happened because I was teaching.

So when I see students who are dripping with knowledge, exuding powerful practice, offering a strong, wonderful, positive vibration and more than capable of teaching the class they take from me, and find out they aren’t teaching, it befuddles me. We start talking and I suggest they take a teacher training. Maybe they need a certification, or is money a problem? I can talk to the studio I work at about a scholarship. No, they’ve actually already completed a training, they just don’t feel ready.

My yogic calm strains.

Trust me on this one, you are ready. I know a teacher when I see one, and you are a teacher. Get over your worries, whatever expectations you have of yourself to be perfect, or whatever is holding you back. You come to my class every week and do what I say for 90-120 sweaty minutes, would you please trust me on this one and start teaching?

“OK, I’ll think about it.” Months pass. “So, teaching yet?” The excuses are more elaborate now, they know I’m pushy.

No time.  “You practice 5+ times a week for 2 hours and you can’t teach one class?” No studios willing to let me teach. “I can have you teaching class in a week, just let me talk to…” No insurance.  “5 minutes, $100, are you serious?” Honestly, I’m still not really sure I’m ready.

My yogic calm just goes to sh*t.

You are ready. You just need to be clear on what you are ready for. You’re not ready to offer a class that will give all the yogis what they need, to cue everything perfectly, to say a few words that will land well in every heart, to answer that random anatomy question that will come after class and to demonstrate it all just right. That’s tricky, nobody is ready for that and it is not the point.

What we need to be ready for is to be a conduit. What matters is that you are capable and humble—this is what I look for in teachers. You have the knowledge, the practice and the respect for yoga to want to prepare more. All that asana, pranayama, japa and meditation has prepared you to be a conduit for something much bigger than you or me, to get to work on those mats.

Here’s the secret:

Before class, bow your head and offer a prayer to Shiva, Jesus, God or Buddha, whatever name you use for the divine. “Let me be useful. Let me stay out of your way, Lord. Please, come dance with us.” With this authentic receptivity you can’t go wrong. I promise.

Here’s another secret:

Everything you have learned so far, when you start teaching, when you let that inexplicable energy flow through you, you and your learning expand in ways I can’t explain.

I’m writing this because there is at least one “student” I want to read it, and so I can give it to people in the years to come. Maybe other teachers will want to forward it to some of their students. If this has been forwarded to you, think about it. Your teachers have shared a sacred art with you, it might already be time to pay it forward.

Come dance with us, Shiva’s waiting.



Mike Graglia is a certified Dharma Mittra, Acro and Rocket yoga teacher based in DC. He has been teaching Yoga since 2006.  He has taught classes in India, Greece, Bali, Turkey and Malaysia.  He is so grateful for the chance to share what he has been taught by some incredible teachers in this life.   Mike also practices Vipassana meditation and Thai Massage.  Follow his blog at: www.MikeGraglia.com





Editor: Maja Despot


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12 Responses to “Why Aren’t You Teaching Yet? ~ Mike Graglia”

  1. cathy says:

    you made me cry…

  2. brianwilliamsyoga says:

    Thank you, sir, for another beautiful piece.

  3. jean marie says:

    So good! Love everything Mike is writing here. This is an important message for so many teachers training graduates, new or old!

  4. Hawah says:

    sweet, honest and true Mike! well done, and said. don't worry about being a "perfect teacher" be compassionate and encouraging, the rest takes care of itself! I'm going to share it for sure with the couple of Teacher Training Groups I work with!

  5. Simply brilliant Mike – so glad you are part of the Elephant tribe!

  6. Anya says:

    Sweetheart! That was beautiful!!! I didn't teach for a long time myself when I finished teacher training. I cant tell you what a struggle it was for me. But one day, I was talking to a "pushy" friend, and what he told me was enough to get me through my panic attacks… He told me that I was being selfish, that I have something to share with people and by not sharing it and deciding for people whether they like what I have to share or not, I was withholding a gift. I can't say it became crystal clear to me after that, but every time I would hear a critical voice in my head that would enlighten me about my ineptitude, lack of knowledge, etc…. his voice would silence those voices for a moment. We really are conduits. I still hear critical voices in my head, but I know that my style has touched many, has healed many and started many on a track to self discovery. So… many years later, I am so grateful to my friend because he was right. I had something to give and had I withheld it out of fear it would have been a big loss – mostly for me – because no matter how much i give to my students the return comes back to me exponentially. Teaching is one of the most rewarding and humbling things that i do. I love it! and cant imagine who i am without it. Hope your friend stops cradling his/her gift and starts to share it with everyone!

  7. […] Why Aren’t You Teaching Yet? ~ Mike Graglia […]

  8. […] the quest for further discovery, many people are taking teacher training programs simply because they want to learn about the philosophy of yoga, something that can’t be taught in […]

  9. Melissa says:

    I really want to start teaching, but I live in Denver, CO where there's a pretty saturated market, and I haven't found an opportunity to do so yet. Any suggestions for people like me?

  10. yogagirlgrant says:

    Do you know me personally? Feels like you were writing directly to me! I am bookmarking this article. This may be exactly what I need to stop the anxiety about teaching and just do it already.
    Thank YOU…