November 28, 2012

Why Do Yoga Teachers Leave Us? ~ Ashley Jenkins

Educating Yogis on Non-Attachment and the Nomadic Nature of Yoga Teachers

I’m getting back from a phenomenal class with one of my favorite yoga teachers—Gina Caputo, also known as The Yogini on the Loose. She recently “came home” to Kansas City from Colorado for a workshop series. I woke up at the crack of dawn and hauled ass across the state for a chance to roll down my mat and get into the fire.

A few months ago though, Gina moved away. She discovered a new yoga home in Boulder, Colorado, where she now teaches at Om Time Yoga (Psssd! Go check her out elephant readers!).

Teachers move on in life to other avenues, passing us the torch to continue in their footsteps. Yes, those are huge shoes to fill. And I know it won’t be the same, but it’s a calling to step up. If you feel abandoned by your teacher—can’t find anything that holds a candle to them—this means it’s your turn to make an offering.

I know it’s shocking—a teacher who stops teaching us? How will we ever continue?

The students in my studio are always sad when teachers move on. They want reasons. The best explanation I have for them is: when you find a teacher, show up. One day, they won’t be here to teach you any longer. Soak in as much knowledge as they have to share with you.

As yogis, we are called to practice non-attachment, or aparigraha. So, just like not getting attached to the material goodies we consume, we also practice this with the people in our—even the ones who enhance us.

Sometimes we can still track our teachers down, sit at their footsteps and continue our learning journey. Other times life creates new roles, and because of shifts in schedule, growth in exponential forms or the interest to share their practice our teachers can no longer exist in the capacity we wish they could embody. Retiring to other realms, which we are unable to go, such as far away locations, or death are even more of a reason to love every minute you get with your teacher.

Teachers leave us with lessons. These are palpable, timeless, and if you work smart enough, you will remember the wisdom of the teaching.

Not everyone is meant to teach, but if you do:

As a yoga teacher, there are times in the journey when you simply must step back and tend to your own sacred fire—simplifying, feeding your flame. If you lose your yoga connection, this means you must let go of teaching to inquire at your own mat.

We, as teachers, often get so caught up in the action of teaching that we neglect having personal teachers, too. Yes, our students are a mirror and do teach us so much. However, nothing is quite like the co-created experience of a collective tribe showing up for hands on learning from a guide—your teacher, who encourages you to get back in the flow.

Many hours on my mat have taught me about the importance of having other like-minded teachers in parallel fields. Having personal yoga teachers with whom I can check in with, who show me a bigger vision for myself is important, too. Without these teachers I’d be lost, envious of all those who taste bliss as I watch as the teacher—a beholder of delicious transformation.

It’s a gift to have a teacher. We show them they are our teacher by our attendance.

Your teacher may not always be there. Showing up is a sign of your gratitude and how meaningful they are to you. Let them know what lessons touch your soul and inspire you to take action in evolution.

When we fail to show up, to co-create, teachers who are inspired to inspire may go looking for another place to make an offering. Life is a flow.

As a teacher to teachers—you need a teacher. If you are in a dilemma with your own teaching journey, experiencing a lack of inspiration, few students or the absence of abundance—set the tone. Teach by example. Find a teacher, and be called teacher.


Ashley Jenkins is a yoga teacher, studio founder/director/owner, yoga teacher discoverer and trainer, Thai Yoga Bodyworker and Exercise Physiologist by trade. Business strategist and Mindful Marketing Coach, speaker, online solo-preneur and soul sister; she’s interested in liberating truth, making the trade of services and goods a more joyful, predictably profitable and greater impact to the world around us—overall lifting our collective vibe. Whenever she has a new offering or something that is so amazing she knows you need an email about, her newsletter subscribers get the inside scoop at ashleymjenkins.com.


Editor: Sara McKeown

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