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!