The older I get, the more I realize that yoga is just a tool. A remarkable one, yes, but it’s just a tool.
There absolutely needs to be a bigger purpose to the practice or all we’re doing is aerobic stretches on a rubber mat.
Someone asked during my class yesterday what advice I have for new teachers that are just starting out on this journey.
I first told her that my answer used to be that it’s important to find your own voice and to not imitate your teacher but to bring out in your teaching what’s unique to you… But then I shared with her that now my answer to that question has changed.
Finding your own voice is important, yes, but it’s not nearly as vital as asking yourself the question: why do I want to be a teacher?
The reason this is important is that there has to be a fundamental longing inside of you to make the world a better place for your teachings to mean something.
You need a longing to be of service within you. To value the practice for the amazing tool that it is—not as the end-game. To use yoga not as a way to become flexible or lose weight or learn cool tricks to show off on the beach, but to genuinely want to improve the world we live in.
If you don’t feel that way, don’t become a yoga teacher.
That might sound harsh but it’s not. We have far too many 200-hour graduates wanting to teach handstands to the masses. Too many people on Instagram sharing photos of bodies in poses accompanied by generic quotes written by someone else. Too many people teaching without knowing why.
What we don’t have is enough people doing what they can to make a real difference in the world.
Handstands don’t change lives. Community does!
So make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. Instead of following people online—lead. Don’t waste your time liking posts—speak up. Let your time on the mat as both a teacher and a student be how you source the strength to get out there and do better.
The moment you stop thinking as “I” and start acting as “we” is the moment you’ll realize that you actually do have the power to change the world.
Author: Rachel Brathen
Editor: Katarina Tavčar