September 27, 2017

It’s not a Crush on your Yoga Teacher, It’s This.

Have you ever gotten a crush on your yoga teacher?

I have.

I mean for crying out loud, they’re teaching spiritual principles, giving of their time and selves for very little money, making these killer music tracks, and giving hands-on assists like some kind of therapeutic angel.

What’s not to love, right?

The thing is, it happened once, and then again, and again—until I was forced to look deeper at it.

I’m a bit stove-up from a life of rowdiness. Practicing yoga is a challenge but it’s like a balm to my body and soul. I started going to a class where they play the harmonium and chant. The asana is somewhat above my level of ability but the teacher is so stellar, it’s okay.

The problem is that even though I’d promise myself I wasn’t going to, every time I was lying there in a pool of sweat in savasana, my heart pounding out of my chest, I’d get to bawling.

The physical aspect of all those “heart-opening” poses produces an emotional reaction to begin with—and with the artfully choreographed music and the dance-like transitions, you start to feel like you’re flowing into another reality. It all crescendos as you surpass any place you’ve ever been, and then you’re lying there with all these folks who have been doing the same thing with you, and it’s just freaking overwhelming.

You’re so grateful for the nurturing and community that all the pain and suffering bubble up, like when you drop an Alka-Seltzer tab in Coca-Cola. It’s a little embarrassing, but it’s not like you’re blubbering or anything. Thank God they turn the lights down for a while so you’ve got a little time to get it together. Everybody has a way of drying their face with a towel so that it dovetails nicely into wiping away the tears.

Well the other day, I was lying there and felt it bubbling up—loving that teacher—and then, I realized something:

I also loved that young guy up front with no shirt and bright blue trunks, who I’d seen stumble and try again. I loved the other old guy in the room, with the gray beard shaking like a leaf, trying to reach past his rather large belly, and the heavy lady to my right who was no less than inspiring in her adeptness. Young people, not so young—heck, I loved all these people.

That’s when it hit me.

Those teachers were just the most obvious and immediate target for all that emotion I’d been feeling. That’s the way it is laying there at the end, listening to your heart pounding, the ethereal music washing your soul because all your barriers have melted onto your sticky mat and this profound stuff rises to the surface.

There it was in my brain, like some Peter Max neon paisley hippie poster from the ’60s:

“Yoga is love.”

It’s getting out of your comfort zone. It’s challenging yourself without judgment. It’s going inward to a place you don’t normally go. Hell, it’s an ancient science about going inward.

I’ve been fighting something all my life, and I suspect most people are the same in one way or another. Maybe all we’re really fighting is our fear. Fear of not being good enough, or somebody taking something away, or hurting us or our loved ones somehow.

The thing is, when they open the door and the light shines into the studio, all of that is washed away for a spell, and I love that freaking teacher and each and every soul in that room who has just left their fear and doubt on their mat.

So, I’m going to keep going back, because I’ve figured out that these folks are my tribe. We all need a tribe, because that’s the only way we can get out of our heads and let go of all the garbage. It’s one of the best ways we can know we’re not alone.

So, now I know: yoga is love. And, as far as I can tell, we all want as much of that as we can find.



Author: Scott Hicks
Image: The Yoga People/Flickr 
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron

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Angel Smith Sep 14, 2018 6:44pm

I had a crush on my first Yoga teaher, about 40 years ago. I was 22, she was 24. Back then I was amazed by what she could do with her body. Today I know that it was not the physical aspect. I've seen people who can do much harder asanas than she could do. Issue is, today almost every teacher is a "professional" who is acredited, follows studio guidlines, beautiful, knows how to say the right word and figure out how to "fix" your asana using the body you have. They are professionals, and good professionals. I appreciate them for what they do, but I don't love them. She was an amature who was much closer to the Indian origin of Yoga. She had big gaps in her knowledge, but she really cared. And that's the base for the love I love - "really care".

Richard Josephson Sep 28, 2017 11:35pm

scott, just a note to let you know the link to your blog on your bio (above) does not work.

Irene S. Hodge Sep 28, 2017 5:09pm

I loved this article. My yoga is a much slower style, an older crowd but my senior yogis have a community. Some now go to lunch after practice. If someone is out too long everyone begins to worry and the emails go out. I bring a card in for everyone to sign when someone is going through cancer, knee replacement etc. Call it tribe, call it community but there is definitely shared love and joy through yoga...

Steve Hicks Sep 28, 2017 4:48pm


Jc Nolan Sep 28, 2017 2:44pm

Thank you!

John Backman Sep 28, 2017 2:33pm

Scott Hicks, I'm not a yoga practitioner, but you've touched on a truth that's been slowly emerging for me over the past few years: that crushes and romance and even sex are of a piece with the rest of our human lives. I see our culture as teaching us to separate the two: some religious folk do it in the spirit-good/body-bad way, others do it in the sex-is-just-two-bodies-together way. It all seems so much healthier, more whole, when we sense this romantic/sexual stuff and observe and enjoy it as part of the rest of the goodness of life. I hope that makes sense.

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Scott Hicks

Scott Hicks is a yoga-practicing, fight-training, ex-rounder spiritual warrior with a head full of ideas he likes to share. He adores humanity, though is often frustrated with it, and has figured out that getting out of his comfort zone is life expanding. His blog that he contributes to when inspired can be found here.