Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of why I was teaching. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Truth be told, I wasn’t teaching. I was giving speeches. I was standing at the front of the room and rambling off things I had memorized.
Teaching, on the other hand, is an ebb and flow, a two-way exchange of energy between students and teacher. Teaching is a dialogue, not a monologue.
The shift from whole-hearted teaching to merely showing up was so quiet I barely noticed it happen. I spent my days racing around from class to studio, to my day job, to a different studio. At one point I was teaching five classes on Sundays alone.
It was exhausting. I was exhausted.
I became an expert at managing my energy. In doing so, I created a new baseline for myself. Physically, I could teach five classes in one day, but energetically I was holding back, because if I gave my all to each class I wouldn’t be able to teach them all. Somewhere along the way I had confused quantity with quality.
I was spending more time and energy on my Instagram posts and newsletters than I was on actual teaching. I was checking things off the list, completing tasks just for the sake of completing them. And I was working hard—so hard that it took me too long to admit that I had gotten it all wrong.
But eventually, I faced my truth and I started fresh.
Because we get to do that. Anytime we want, we can choose to clear the slate and begin again.
I let go of classes, obligations and expectations that did not make sense in my current life. I made room. I let go of caring about daily Instagram posts and focused on content that felt inspiring to me, whether that was once a day or once a week. I let go of my monologue and began to converse with the beautiful beings in my classes. Which, incidentally is way more fun.
My teacher once said, “When I was starting out, none of us ever thought this would be our career. We just did it because we loved it.” I think my generation of yoga teachers has this backwards.
We are all trying to make a career first, scrambling to get noticed in an over-populated field. But what about the teaching? What exactly are we offering—not just to our students, but to the lineage of the teachings.
Isn’t it our honor to pass down the lessons with as much integrity and grace as we can muster?
I’m starting fresh—beginning with the ancient teachings, being fully engaged in each practice and standing in my own truths. This may not make me popular. I may not have thousands of people on my mailing list and social media accounts. But when did that become the goal, anyway?
At the end of the day, I am still learning. The one thing I know for sure is this: I feel more whole than I have in a long time, and that makes me a better teacher.
Author: Emily Taylor
Image: author’s own
Editor: Nicole Cameron