Today, I posted this letter on my Facebook “blog.”
I want my students to maintain a healthy perspective and understanding of my role as their teacher.
I know I’m not alone, many other teachers discourage their students from following them and placing them on a stage (where no one belongs). However, it happens every day and it is affecting the powerful influence of the yoga practice itself.
This is a call to all yoga teachers to keep our feet on the floor, and a call to all students to throw the pedestal away.
Dear Yoga Students,
Please stop wasting your precious time creating fantasies of how enlightened, perfect, spiritual, grounded, all knowing, guru-ed out, sexy and mysterious your sweaty, scantily-clad Lululemon-ed yoga teacher is. Sweaty and scantily clad, I’ll give you. The rest is all in your mind.
Do not throw away another moment thinking, “My yoga teacher is so much more in tune with himself/herself than I am. I wish I could be more like him/her. I love how sensitive, warm and attentive he/she is toward me. Maybe I should leave my marriage and be with a man/woman who does yoga, then I’ll be happy. Everything will be perfect.” (This cliche is reality, it happens more than you think.)
I’ll let you in on a little secret — (the majority of) yoga teachers are the most insecure, confused, lost, egotistical and wounded human beings alive. We may not show it, we may do everything to throw you off our scent, but we are.
In fact, you may not realize how vital your presence is in our classes. You are feeding our need for validation. You help us feel important. The more of you there are, the better we feel about ourselves and when you don’t show up, it affects us.
So the next time you think your teacher holds the power, understand it is the other way around — you are the powerful one.
Enjoy our sequences. Shazam our playlists. Learn the name of a muscle or two. Maybe pick up some Sanskrit along the way, but then roll up your mat and get on with your life. Go have lunch with your friends. Take your kids to the park. Make love to your husband and thank him for being by your side and supporting you.
You are your own teacher. You are your own expert.
We deserve no pedestal, no accolade, no special treatment. We are no better than you. We are no less confused than you. We are no smarter than you. We are no more spiritual than you.
Just because we can hold a handstand does not mean we are any more enlightened than you. It just means we can hold a handstand. Big deal.
We are teachers of yoga. We are people who found a method, a tool which helps us feel just a little bit better about ourselves, and we became teachers (originally) to help you feel the same. That’s it.