Warning: You may be offended here and call me psychotic. You may recognize yourself. Or you may just laugh your ass off.
There’s nothing better than the feeling that someone out there “gets” you. That’s why things like the fetish community and societies like “The Civil War Reenactors” exist, so every dog has a pack to run with.
Trust me, you’re not alone with your hang-ups, your insecurities and the nagging feeling that you don’t know diddly about teaching yoga.
When I sat down to write “Dirty Little Secrets of a Yoga Teacher,” it seems I unleashed a can of worms. Oops. Apparently, there were more of you out there than I thought with anxiety and self consciousness about the precarious art of teaching.
An old friend of mine told me once that when she first started teaching yoga, she would cry in her car all the way to class, and when she was done she would get back in her car and chain smoke all the way home. That’s how nerve racking it can be.
But you’re not alone, precious warrior. We teachers all go through it.
You know how they say more will be revealed? My second piece, “Dirtier, Sexier & Downright Ghastlier Little Secrets of a Yoga Teacher” brought an avalanche of even more nasty worms. I’m including some comments here, but I’m keeping it anonymous, cloaked in a shroud of mystery like a selfie with the head cut off. I’m sure they don’t want me to scream from the rooftops how fucked up their thinking really is…
Dirty is as dirty does.
I can’t resist a trilogy; as a teacher of mine once said, “threes are so lovely.” So let me round it all out for you, this threesome of silliness. This is your Return of the Jedi, your big third act reveal, the one that wraps it all up in an nice eco-friendly ribbon made out of recycled paper.
Let’s take the scary black helmut off and see what it really looks like under there. Then we can party.
>> Guys, I know you learn by watching. It’s in your DNA; that’s why you watch porn. But please, for the love of Buddha, just try and listen. It’s distracting when I’m wondering if a) you’re looking at chick’s asses, b) you don’t actually speak English or c) you’re brand new to yoga and you were to sheepish to raise your hand when I asked who was brand new to yoga. It’s okay, friend, but I still want you to listen.
>> My favorite Facebook comment on my last piece: “Sometimes in the evening classes I smell such a delicious ganja reek enter the studio that if I could tell who it was that just did a big hit before coming in, I’d ask ’em if I could buy some.”
>> Teachers love when students come to their class regularly. It makes us feel like we have groupies.
>> I can tell a mile away who’s gettin’ it on outside of class.
>> I wear fur. I eat meat. And I can’t stand kombucha tea.
>> We get scattered. If you’ve ever been to my class, you’ve seen me lose my place during a sequence. I go to bed at night, tortured, recalling everything I missed.
>> Sometimes, teachers avoid offering poses they can’t stand. You’ll never see me teach Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose). That pose hates me.
>> Teachers get butt hurt when no one shows up. Where the fuck did everyone go? The Electric Daisy Festival? Comic Con? Or are they home in bed, where I now wish I was?
>> My other favorite Facebook comment: “Love this article! I had gum in my mouth for the whole of my Wednesday night class, and I would chew it when I asked everyone to close their eyes.” Thank you, I got a huge chuckle out of that one.
>> I just went out to my backyard and had a puff of my husband’s cigarette.
>> Sometimes I just do not fuckin’ feel like teaching. I have stuff to do, I haven’t seen my husband all day and blah, blah, blah. Before you say I’m acting like a spoiled brat, I can tell you I always get my ass there and when I do, I’m always happy and beyond amazed I get to be a teacher—except the day my dog had been missing for four days. (It’s okay, it was years ago, I got him back and he’s right next to me on the couch.)
>> Teachers don’t like it when they tell the class to close their eyes and sit in meditation for a few breaths, only to look up and realize one of you is glaring right at them. And when I say glaring, I’m talking about an unwavering fixation that sometimes turns into a bizarre staring contest.
>> Someone once put an article up about yoga teachers wearing makeup to class. I’m in my 40’s. and I’m not going anywhere without makeup, nor would you want me to.
>> Student question: “Am I supposed to have my hand below the iliac crest, where the adductors are (or something like that)?” I’m all for learning the proper terminology for our body parts, but unless you’re a doctor and we’re discussing a bone marrow transplant or any other surgical procedure, please keep it simple. This kind of talk makes me think my anatomy teacher planted that student there to see how I would answer.
One last Facebook comment: it simply said, “I love you.” I love you too, you cutie from Berkeley.
You are not alone. We all have those thoughts that could be considered grounds for losing karma points… some are more demonic than others. But not worry, it’s certainly not like the fate of the entire galaxy is hinging on your shoulders.
We’re all in this together baby, so let’s disco down. Let’s move and groove on, and work that Monkey Pose. Work it like you stole it. Take a giant leap across the ocean, into the light, where the warriors dwell and our plaguing fears are in Savasana.
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Bonus! Richard Freeman’s definition of Yoga:
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: courtesy of the author