October 28, 2013

Give Your Yoga Teacher a Hug. ~ Amber Kavehkar

Even when we can’t be at our best, no matter what we must give what we’ve got.

Take off my teacher superhero cape; you will see a mirror image of yourself. Depending on the thought running through my head, depending on how long we lock eyes, perhaps I would last 10 seconds without having to tear my gaze—before the cast iron veil becomes too heavy to hold up.

We seek awareness, so the students are keen. They say practice what you preach. Sometimes we don’t practice as we teach. Requesting vulnerability and not being able to give it up. When I let that happen is when I have let my students down. And it happens sometimes. It does.

Driving home, uneasiness and fatigue draw my eyebrows tight. My shoulder is killing me. James looked in pain tonight; I should have watched him closer. Did I miss an instance where I could have helped that new student in some way? What was her name?  Do I really have the energy/time to take a class tonight?

Thought vomit swarms: How do I get more people in class? If I figure that out I’ll have job security, right?

It’s not really allowed in our profession, to be a model of a mess. Sometimes we scold ourselves: all teachers, community leaders, managers, anyone with a pulse! The choices we make for dinner, what we wear, who we associate with, our actions in traffic, for fun, when we are alone, when we doubt ourselves. We seem to be falling to a double standard.  

Then we seem to equate our actions to our selves. Knowing deep down and teaching out loud, that is not the case. To be vulnerable we must be open to taking off this I–must-be-the-best-example-I-can-do-anything-for-everyone-at-all-times-outerwear-and-even-underwear.   

Honestly, on most days I resemble more of a controlled mess. Is that an oxymoron? Why is the word moron in there?

To be the role model yoga teacher and divulge my true Self—at all times—I feel like I am on a tightrope almost ready to fall. I am not sure if I can hold my own here. I don’t know if I will be accepted or if I can handle it if I’m not. But that is vulnerability. 

Being a full time yoga teacher is a job in a very real sense of the word, especially when we attempt to make our living off only working 20 hours a week and a few side jobs. The truth is I am one of the luckiest people alive to able to live off teaching. I struggle, but we all do. 

Even when we can’t be at our best, no matter what we must give what we’ve got.

Staying aware to students is key. And as we request for them to try something in a pose, something new or a modification in honor of their bodies, or current state of mind, we should ask the same of ourselves. 

Through compassion we connect clearly. But without clearly connecting, compassion is absent. When I fail, they can feel it and become uneasy. Dis-ease. It’s easier to be able to be there for someone else than myself. And we work together on being aware of that. To align up. To be free. To be Self. To stay connected. 

Accepting this career as a yoga teacher is just as much a reality check for me as the practice is for the students. So…thank you.

If you have a yoga teacher, give them a hug. We are in this together. 

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Editor: Travis May

Photo: elephant archives

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