There is only one you: being your authentic self as a teacher

There is only one you; be true: 

I jotted this down on a post it note six years ago during my 200 hour yoga teacher training. My teacher, Kevan, was talking about being yourself in all things. One place where there is certainly no exception: in yoga teaching. 

As more and more people realize just how magical a yoga class can be, just how transformative yoga can be, we are seeing an influx of new yoga teachers, hungry and excited to share teachings and practices! 

I remember how overwhelmed I felt, graduating in a sea of other excited teachers in our somewhat small community, trying to find a teaching job. How would I stand out? How could I possibly get a job when there were so many other brand new, talented, excited teachers out there?  After 200 hours of being immersed in the beauty of the yoga teachings, practicing love, compassion, and understanding,  that self comparing voice in the back of the head still piped up on seeing new names pop up on studio schedules, wondering why I hadn’t gotten that job or put myself out there for it. 

We’re human beings, and when we’re excited about something, it’s easy to get wrapped up. As I explored my own teaching voice, as I began to get jobs (and take ANY teaching gig I could get my hands on!) I realized just how right Kevan was when he shared, “There is only one you. Be true.”

It can be tempting to read workshops others are teaching, take classes others are teaching, and try to mimic what we see. Maybe we didn’t even mean to duplicate, we just thought it sounded really cool, wrote down an idea, and forgot to make it our own. 

There is nothing wrong with being INSPIRED by one another! That is how we learn and grow.  As confidence in teaching and self grows, our classes become more and more our own. 

What keeps your students coming back isn’t simply the way you sequenced that class, or the quote you read at the end, or the catchy title you gave your class or workshop. What keeps them coming back is YOU. You being YOU. 

You could teach the exact same sequence that another teacher does and perhaps even say the exact same things, but it would be an entirely different class because of what you each bring to the table. It will be an entirely different class because of the intention you put behind it.  When you teach what comes authentically to you, what you know, what you are passionate about, that is what makes an incredible, meaningful class. Students can FEEL authenticity. Even if they can’t put their finger on it. 

As there is more and more overlap between workshops, workshop names, studios, marketing, and we see ideas zipping back and forth and perhaps occasionally think, “HEY! That was MY idea!’, we recognize that yes, we are all sharing the same mission, sharing these amazing teaching, and if we are true to our practice, we know when we are being authentic, when we are coming up with ideas that are true to ourselves, and sharing from our own hearts.

Let’s continue to practice  loving kindness and compassion with ourselves, our peers and our students, respect ourselves and one another, and tune into our intentions each time we offer teachings. How lucky are we that we have this incredible opportunity to share ourselves openly and make an impact? Namaste!

 

The Bat Cave

I was recently walking with a friend who just returned from a trip to Texas. She told me the story of her visit to the bat caves in Texas, that are home to over 80,000 (or more!) bats. They gather here together, and, being very social animals, as they travel around, spread the word so to speak, to other bats, who also come back and gather at this one cave. When visitors are near the cave at dusk, all of sudden, beautiful waves of bats, seas of black, begin to make their way across the sky in unison. 

If you've ever been in a closed space with a bat, (2001, college dorm hallway!) you have seen how frantic the flight of a bat can be, how massive their wing span, how fast they can zoom back and forth. And here is my friend, describing to me the beauty and calm of massive groups of bats. 

It got me thinking about our yoga practice. The way we often flutter through our crazy days, jumping from activity to activity, calls, meetings, commitments, and then all land quietly and peacefully in the space of the yoga studio, move our bodies in unison, and walk out calm and free.

The deep quiet darkness of the yoga practice, the savasana, and then the spreading of our wings as we head back into the world. I might just start calling the studio the bat cave. We gather together, we gather into the darkness, and then we move into the sky!  

Wonderful

I recently attended an exhibit on Wonder at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC with a dear friend. Each room and exhibit was built to create a sense of awe – as I entered each room I found myself gasping and feeling like a little kid again. One room contained walls covered completely in marbles, another a giant rainbow colored net that changed colors and draped from the ceiling. People lay on pillows on the floor, staring up and taking it all in. Pausing to experience and feel this sense of amazement at the beauty surrounding us.

It got me thinking: what would it be like to not only experience gratitude for the many wonderful things in life, but also to be amazed continuously by the tiny details? To not only be grateful for how beautiful the Portland views of the ocean are, but also to be in awe of its existence. This month, let’s practice not only gratitude, but amazement at the beauty and the people around us. Let’s be full of wonder. Let’s be wonder full.

WONDERful December

My favorite thing about this time of year is the focus on gratitude, loved ones, sharing, and gathering.

I recently attended an exhibit on Wonder at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC with a dear friend. Each room and exhibit was built to create a sense of awe – as I entered each room I found myself gasping and feeling like a little kid again. One room contained walls covered completely in marbles, another a giant rainbow colored net that changed colors and draped from the ceiling. People lay on pillows on the floor, staring up and taking it all in. Pausing to experience and feel this sense of amazement at the beauty surrounding us.

It got me thinking: what would it be like to not only experience gratitude for the many wonderful things in life, but also to be amazed continuously by the tiny details? To not only be grateful for how beautiful the Portland views of the ocean are, but also to be in awe of its existence.

This month, let’s practice not only gratitude, but amazement at the beauty and the people around us. Let’s be full of wonder. Let’s be wonder full.

 “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” – Y.B. Yeats

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” – Y.B. Yeats