Some mornings, I wake up with a furrowed brow and a head wobbly with doubt.
I spend a little—okay, too much—time on social media, stalking my yoga teaching brethren. And I’ve discovered something they all have in common that I lack: they’re amazing!
They are a truly remarkable bunch of glorious looking, uber-flexible, strong and svelte humans. That’s if they are, indeed, human at all.
These yoga people I stalk are intelligent, courageous, sexually superior, infinitely wise, and spiritually assured—not to mention, superbly photogenic. How does one mere mortal achieve such outrageous perfection in a single lifetime?
But me? I’m not like them.
I’m a stumbling, bumbling skinful of karmic debts and spiritual foibles. With a potbelly and way fewer than a thousand Instagram followers, surely I don’t qualify.
Despite the fact that I have practiced yoga for 20 years, hold numerous qualifications, nearly 2,000 hours of formal training, and innumerable hours of teaching experience, self study, and practice, I still don’t feel worthy.
That gnawing voice of anxiety and self-doubt tells me I am not good enough, godly enough—that I am not enough.
I can’t even do lotus pose. How can I teach yoga?
I’m full of attachments, desires, and fears. Surely, this disqualifies me?
Last Thursday, I ate a hash brown from McDonald’s—and I liked it. With those impurities still within my skin, how can I have the gall to lecture others?
The baffled king composing Hallelujah.
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
~ Leonard Cohen
Or as my dear friend (whom I’ve yet to meet), Anne Lamott says, “Hallelujah anyway.”
Mercy is a spiritual practice that begins with ourselves. And despite the anxiety and the self doubt, this show must go on.
It is my duty to teach yoga.
A lot of good people have worked really hard and spent a lot of time training me. I owe it to my teachers, my friends, and my family to pay that message forward, to share the wisdom of yoga as best as I can with as many people as I possibly can.
And, it’s what I love. In my heart of hearts, sharing the teachings and experience of yoga is where I want to be. I’ve tried other things, but all those efforts have led me here, to right now, to do this.
The world we live in (in case you haven’t noticed) is in a bit of strife. Mother Earth is faced with a multitude of problems, most of them caused by selfish, scared, and anxious humans.
It would seem that we humans are having some difficulties with being, which is why we need yoga. It’s why yoga needs yoga teachers. If we have some knowledge that we know would benefit others, we have a dharmic obligation to pass that knowledge on.
So despite the fears, despite the self-doubt, despite the recriminations, I get out of bed each day. I do my best to make each day a yogic day, with moments of sadhana linked together, woven through my life.
And I do my best to share the knowledge that has been gifted to me, setting aside my ego and anxieties as best as I can, and seeking to be a conduit for the teachings of yoga. Seeking to be the best teacher of yoga that I can be.
I work for yoga. I serve yoga as an advocate, an instructor, and a publicist.
Yoga is great, you should do it.
Don’t know how? No worries, let me show you.
Author: Mark Purser
Image: Author’s Own courtesy of Simon Guthrie
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina