I had this thought after yoga class yesterday: that our teachers offer us so much of themselves and for very little pay and reward, other than helping us grow through our practices.
As a teacher, I know this to be true firsthand. However, it’s easy, when simply sitting on the sidelines as a participant to critique and judge.
And is it wrong that I don’t want to read stories about why that yoga class stunk or why I didn’t like the teacher’s music? Because I don’t.
If we don’t like the music or the teacher then here’s a wild thought: let’s simply go somewhere else, quietly and calmly and with compassion.
Because that’s another thing about teachers, yoga styles, studios and, of course, music—it’s all subjective. There have absolutely been teachers who haven’t spoken to me that I know others thoroughly enjoy, and vice versa.
Teaching yoga is, interestingly, not that much different from writing and blogging—which I think is one reason that many people do these in tandem.
In both, there’s the creation of a theme and an out-pouring of the self to others—only yoga teachers are doing so publicly in front of an audience.
How many of us don’t enjoy public speaking? Probably an awful a lot.
How many of us have the courage on a daily basis—or multiple times a day—to go and stand in front of a room full of people and open ourselves up and pour ourselves out for no better purpose than to foster healing and positivity in the lives of those around?
My guess is that even the other teachers out there who don’t necessarily appreciate a certain instructor or style still don’t want to hear them be bashed, ridiculed and maligned—because this in no way nurtures what yoga is about.
(Read up on the yamas and niyamas, for example, if you need help understanding what yoga is, in fact, about.)
Sure, I’ve been known to write the occasional snarky, funny article—I firmly believe that we can be spiritual seekers and also lovers of comedy. But regardless of our senses of humor, I’d like to personally extend a huge, heart-hugging thank you to all of the wonderful people who regularly don stretchy pants and assist me in my downward-facing dogs.
You have helped me through more rough patches than you know.
There have been times when tears have streamed down my face in savasana and I was eternally grateful that the room was dark. More, I was grateful to have had the loving support of such a community, where I felt comfortable enough to go to class during times of sorrow—because it helped me move through my daily life after I’d moved and worked my shit out on my mat.
That little tweak created significantly more space within my posture and that gentle press helped release my muscular tension.
You’ve reminded me that I’m capable.
The empowering words that accompanied that flow sequence brought light into my heart and joy into my being—and I needed reminding that these tools are always there, in my arsenal.
So thank you.
Oh, and your music?
I thought it was great.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Brad Coy/elephant journal archives