I am a yoga teacher.
It has taken me more than a few months to type those words out, let alone say it.
Despite passing my teacher’s course in May, I still struggled to believe in my abilities to teach. Never was there a moment during my course that I thought I could actually teach this ancient practice.
After all, I had ventured off to Rishikesh to deepen my knowledge of yoga and re-ignite my passion for it – teaching yoga was the farthest thing from my mind.
That all changed after my first practical teaching class in India.
I didn’t know how it was going to turn out and was all nerves, but I made it through those 90 minutes. I had such great support and constructive feedback from my friends at the course that I started to believe that I could actually do this “teaching yoga thing”.
Six months down the line, I am beginning to teach yoga and learning tremendously in every class.
I will be the first to admit that I make mistakes in my classes. As I am new-ish, I am constantly learning what I should or should not be doing. I accept that it will be a continuous lesson for me; teaching me to see beyond my books, trust my intuition and keep my students’ interest at heart.
A friend of mine from my India days mentioned that she sees her students as her teachers – whatever they bring to class teaches her a lesson on how to teach them accordingly. I thought that was a wonderful way of looking at her teaching practice.
After all, students come in all shapes and sizes, with various emotions and thoughts, and challenging injuries and illnesses. All of this provides a platform for me to learn how to teach and help them, and most importantly, help them well.
When there are days where I doubt my own ability to teach (and there can be quite a number of those), I always come back to some quotes that help bring me back to my purpose.
“Do your practice and all is coming.” ~ Sri K. Patthabi Jois
“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.” ~ T.K.V. Desikachar
“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
“Teach what is inside you.
Not as it applies to you, to yourself,
but as it applies to the other.”
~ T. Krishnamacharya
“Put you heart, mind, intellect and soul even into your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” ~ Swami Sivananda
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
~ B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life
“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.” ~ Aadil Palkhivala
It’s going to take a lot of time and hard work to make good on all these inspiring quotes. But it is time and work that I am passionate about, life-long lessons that I am willing to focus on – it’s about being a student of yoga for life.
All I need to do is to continue practising and teaching with an open heart and mind, being present for myself and my students, learning and unlearning, and finding the joy in every moment.
I have wonderful teachers, family and friends that I look up to and friends I learned so much from my time in India. It’s hard not to be grateful for their presence in my life, at some point or another. They give me the hope and belief I need to continue on this path.
One of my favourite quotes from the great sage Patanjali says it all – “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
Now, wouldn’t that be a magnificent way to live?