She is a Yoga Teacher, Not a Guru. ~ Debbie Laughlin

Via Debbie Laughlin
on Dec 21, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

photo: lifesheimagined.tumblr

I was completely taken off my mat one day, when in savasana, the instructor decided to take us into her own psychosis (a guided meditation of her personal problems).

As we all lay there helpless and forced to absorb her baggage I was more than shocked, I could not believe she was going down that path—but she did.

With beautiful articulation and confidence she babbled on and on and all the while using the proper language (P.C.) found fluidly in yoga world.

I was pissed; in my mind it looked something like this: While I am happy that you have the qualifications to be my instructor, I don’t believe that you are qualified, nor did anyone give you permission to put your toxic stuff on me or any of your other students and call it a guided meditation.

It began with “authentic self”—what is that exactly? The urban dictionary defines it as this:


Being all real and not about the fake stuff.

Wearing your real hair, nails, and breast is keeping it authentic.

But, if you are being authentic, I don’t need you to tell me that you are, or that I need to be—it just seems a bit odd that anyone needs that validated but then again, maybe that is the side door to her vulnerability.

Which lead me to her next word of the moment “vulnerable”—this is where it gets tricky because this woman is always telling us how fierce she is or desires to be…hmmm? Anyone else see a conflict?

Then there was “conflicted”—yes after vulnerable, strong and fierce, she is also conflicted—ouch. I think the wounds are pretty deep (just my observation).

But she, (like so many of us) has been the “victim” of a divorce (welcome to the club) left with the children (again welcome to the club) and was in conflict. Geesh—welcome to the club already.

Meanwhile, back to the topic at hand. In this guided meditation she was telling us to be strong, be authentic, be vulnerable be this, be that and I didn’t want too! All I wanted was to reflect on the practice that I had just completed that morning, period. End of story.

So as she kept talking, the anger grew, and with that anger my whole practice was shot to hell—or so I thought.

What happened to my serenity? Gone in the few fleeting moments of her self-absorbed “meditation”. All the way home I tried to process this. Why it bothered me so much and what was she really thinking, “oh enlightened one”? I got absolutely nowhere with it and reached out to a trusted man who is actually an accredited instructor of meditation.

His answer was perfectly perfect. This was a chance to really test my focus, my heart, and my own “stuff.” And instead of letting the anger swell and bum my yoga high, it was an opportunity to get into my head and flow with my own query as I notice what the words did to my body/heart/mind.

You see—you can meditate on anything—that is the point. The important thing (for me) to remember is:

1. We are human with human emotions

2. All people have egos but that isn’t my problem until I make it so

3. My ego made it so

4. Lesson well learned.

5. Flow

I missed the golden opportunity to make my practice that day complete, by letting her stuff co-mingle with my stuff. I was sucked into my own ego challenging her ego—and they fought it out in my head. What a waste of sweet savasana.

I could of settled into the floor; melted into some commonalities and just accepted she was hurting inside (like so many of us) and wanted to share it. I could have located compassion instead of anger and there was no need at all for my defenses and my hair to rise except obviously she hit a cord in my own core that needs some attention.

Kudos and hugs to the psycho—myself included. Look deeper. Pain makes us crazy but we all are in very good company.

Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?

Get our weekly newsletter.

Assistant Editor: Heather Hendry/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: lifesheimagined.tumblr





About Debbie Laughlin

Debbie Laughlin is a Mother, Grandmother, Artist, Writer, Dancer, Yogi, Seeker of the Soul. Debbie realized at a very young age that the outer reality was a far cry from her inner truth and meeting her inner wisdom head on always turned into a challenge. The wonderment, curiosity and hypocrisy of life led to exploration and a cumulative documentation (art and journaling) of what she sees, feels and observes. The writing or as Debbie lovingly calls it “the purge” is her way of ridding any negative energy from the daily grind. She says, “In essence, it is a way to start fresh and cleanse the soul.” Debbie writes and speaks to the logical side of Spirituality. (Being accountable, responsible, and full engaged in life’s happenings.) Connect with her through Facebook—360 degrees of Inspiration (full circle).




4 Responses to “She is a Yoga Teacher, Not a Guru. ~ Debbie Laughlin”

  1. HJCotton says:

    As a long time yoga practioner steeped in few yoga traditions, I am fed up of hearing the following buzzwords.
    1. Being authentic and variations
    2. Open to being vulnerable
    3. Open your heart plus most of the yoga psychobubble.
    It is about time that yoga teachers conduct themselves in a professional way that is free of primadonnadish and pseudosaviour attitudes. They are neither our surrogate parents nor they are our therapists or gurus. Instead, they are non-flawless human beings. What I look in a yoga teachers is to teach me a good and effective asana class with a bit over the edge, and to get an introduction in the sutras and yoga philosophy.

  2. Debbie Lynn says:

    I am far from an expert or seeped in tradition and yet, I see your sentiment. (To me) there is something that is so very sacred about the practice… I would rather have less interpersonal interaction as you stated, however – there was a great lesson in compassion in that instance gifted (to me) with a few words by a very enlightened man.

    The saddest part of all is what happens in desperation. We are Human – And our emotions, (when in ego and drama) can carry us beyond the immediate, not ever looking at who is being injected with personal "stuff".

  3. Madeline says:

    I only learned all this yesterday. Nope, not perfect. I will instead talk the talk and eventually it wil
    l become habit. And who are you to judge? This is my path to walk. You have your own….

  4. Madeline says:

    If you could face me and speak your feelings on phone or text, I could a knowledge issues. But like this, no. It's passive aggressive, judgmental, not patient and don't trash my little bit of effort.