“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
~ Ray Bradbury
I have qualified as a Yoga Teacher. This means I am allowed to arrange classes, legally teach and set up a yoga studio or workshop whenever I like.
However, I feel like a fake—undeserved of the qualification “Yoga Teacher”.
The reason I feel like this is because I have spent years going to Yoga classes. I have been to some amazing ones and some that seem to have no relevance to yoga whatsoever.
Even though I have a certificate, I feel like if I were to teach, it would be entirely the wrong thing to do.
My love of yoga started in my teenage years. I have always been spiritual and foolishly believed that by doing yoga I would be guided along the right path to a soulful life and sound mind. I wanted to learn the hidden secrets that, at the time, I felt yoga would unlock. Young, naïve and hungry, I tried class after class after class. Nothing I came across even remotely came close to what I was searching for.
I lived in a small town and what was available to me at the time was, simply put, not much more than a small gathering of people learning how to stretch successfully.
These classes were mainly held in leisure centers or colleges. Brightly lit large rooms with absolutely no energy and no soul. And there was definitely no teaching of philosophy. So, I learned to stretch.
There were plenty of DVD’s on the market that promised to teach me all that I needed to know. So, I purchased one after the other and again, I learned to stretch.
I remember the feeling of emptiness after each session. I believed I must be the problem, maybe I was doing something wrong. I struggled on the inside as I had such a strong desire to feel in touch with what I was doing. However, there was just nothing, no connection at all. So, I read books and again, I learned all the basics and all the fundamentals.
But still, something just wasn’t quite right. So I continued to stretch.
It was during my mid-twenties that I though it must just be me. Everyone else seemed to be getting this huge benefit from yoga. I was toned, and healthy, eating all the things I was told to eat. My body, on the outside, was fooling me (and others) that I was really getting what it was all about. But on the inside, things were very different.
So, I trained to be a yoga teacher. I attended classes, and after a year I was a qualified teacher.
Looking back now, I realize that all I was actually doing was attending nothing more than exercise classes. I was copying exercise DVD’s. I was eating and acting like I was told to, through words in whatever was the latest book at the time. And now, here I was learning how to teach people to be flexible, move correctly and the very basic theories regarding anatomy and lifestyle.
Now I know differently: yoga is not something that can be read, followed or copied.
Yoga is about finding my own way, my own progression and what feels good for me. To be getting any true benefits, I need to be fully present, mind, body and soul. I have to forget everything that I had learned and re-learn to live, breath and move in ways that feel right to me, and me alone.
There are so many different style of yoga, I had to explore and find ones that suited my body and lifestyle. I had to realize that yoga is more than attending a class. It is about living in a way that reflects the whole essence of it.
Yoga is how I treat myself, how I treat others, what I eat, my conversations, thoughts and actions. It is everything and nothing all at once. It is letting go of all that I thought I was and just becoming who I am.
I am still on this path and I am learning. Until I feel that my mind, body and spirit are aligned I know there is no way I can go out and fake being a teacher expecting others to follow my lead. So, when people ask me about my qualification, yes, I am a qualified teacher, however, I am in no way qualified to teach. Not even close.
Disclaimer: These are my thoughts, feelings and experiences alone. I totally appreciate others may have had entirely different dealings and just wanted to share my truth and my Yoga journey.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Lynn Talley/Flickr