The first thing I read this morning was an article written by, Waylon Lewis (my “boss” and founder of elephant journal), The Yoga Industry is not Yoga. A timely read after the decision I executed on Monday.
I couldn’t agree more with his sentiment:
“Sorry, what’s that I said? I meant yoga industry.
‘Cause this isn’t the yoga community. This is the yoga industry. An industry more worked up about paying for playlists than remembering the point of yoga: meditation. An industry that is all about money, and sex, and fame.
Which reminds me of every other industry.
But the yoga community? It’s fine. You won’t find it at the festivals, easily. It’s there. But you will find it, easily, in a mother’s bedroom, in the morning, where she practices her home yoga routine so that her body and mind open and relax enough to help her through a challenging day.” ~Waylon Lewis
The yoga I’ve been taught, and the yoga I teach is no frills. It’s functional. It’s prescriptive. It’s realistic. It is a means to an end and a beginning.
I don’t have an Instagram account. I don’t go to festivals. I don’t have a huge following. I don’t sell anything in my studio because buying is a distraction — it pulls us outside of ourselves when the whole point of yoga is to go in, as far in as we can. My job is to teach yoga, not run a boutique, or studio for that matter.
Beginning August 1st, I will no longer host public classes in my space, other than my own, so that I can do my job, fully.
For a long time, I tried to create a teacher training program, but I never had the motivation or ambition to see it through. Actually, it wasn’t about the lack of ambition. I didn’t want to see it through because in my heart, I know it isn’t my job to make more teachers.
My job is to make more practitioners.
I’m going back to my roots, to my original mission and dream — to create a private learning center where I can teach people how to be their own teachers, so they don’t need me anymore. My job is to equip them with the tools they need, in order to (as Waylon described) practice in their bedrooms, or on a business trip, or wherever and whenever they want to, without my guidance because I’ve taught them well enough to be their own guide.
I remember hearing someone say, “I know I’ve done my job when my students stop coming to my classes — it means I’ve taught them well.”
Being a yoga teacher is similar to being a healthcare practitioner — My mission is to find the origination of my clients’ (patients’) problems, and help my clients heal themselves, so I can send them on their way, out in the world with the ability to maintain their health, on their own.
The world does not need more yoga teachers. The world needs more yoga practitioners.
Many teachers are so enraptured by the fame, following and fortune, they’ve forgotten to teach. They’ve forgotten the point — to teach their students how and why to practice yoga, assisting them in creating a safe, functional practice to fit their needs, which they can take home and into the future.
Yoga studios are popping up like Starbucks, and so are their teacher trainings– Churning out new teachers in thirty to sixty days (this is material for another article, another time) unequipped and unqualified to offer their students the education they need to begin a self – prescriptive practice.
This is a call to the teachers who are qualified: It’s time to do the work. Let’s make more practitioners.
The more practitioners there are, who have been taught safe, effective, aligned, prescriptive posturing, the healthier our communities will be — mentally, physically and emotionally. Not only will the wellbeing of our citizens increase, so will the welfare of our workforce and economy– less sick leave, more productivity; more productivity, more money; more money, more programming; more programming, more resources for education; more education, more awareness; more awareness, less suffering; less suffering, more peace; more peace, more freedom.
How do we get there?
This way: “In a mother’s bedroom, in the morning, where she practices her home yoga routine so that her body and mind open and relax enough to help her through a challenging day,” all because she had a teacher who taught her how to be her own teacher, so she could do her yoga, in order to do her job well, and help make the world a better place. ~Rebecca