Yoga Teachers: let's get humble

Dear Yoga Teacher, You are not that special.

Whoa. That statement might have elicited some reaction from you, huh? Maybe you laughed, maybe you furrowed your brow, maybe you got pissed off or defensive. Perhaps you don’t care about what I am going to say, but I have a feeling you do, or you wouldn’t still be reading.

I am purposefully being provocative for the purpose of shaking up any ego-created stories that may be shrouding your good intentions. And I promise you, I am not standing on a pedestal claiming to be above these tendencies. I, too, have fallen into the trap of thinking I am special. I think we all experience delusions of grandeur relating to our teaching, at least once or twice. I am writing this letter to myself, just as much as I am writing it to you.

I believe Yoga teachers are instruments used to simply pass along information they receive from their teachers, their practice, and their studies. We choose to share an ancient art filled with endless possibilities. We do not own what we teach. Perhaps we are unique in our delivery of classes, our music selections, or the leggings we put on... but nothing we can share about yoga is NEW or OURS. It has all been done before. It has been GIVEN to us to share. We are not special.

Has a student, at the end of a class, expressed their love of the particular sequence you taught or shared about an “ah-ha” moment they experienced? In these situations, it is easy to drink from the seductive nectars produced by our ego... we may even believe that we are special. But who are we to claim ownership of the students’ responses and experiences? Their experiences are no more OURS than is the science of yoga that we are teaching.

So what is my intention of blasting my ego and, maybe, the egos of other yoga teachers?

Well, I think it is important that we get real - really real. I want to acknowledge that I am human, that we are all human and, therefore, susceptible to arrogance. Perhaps more importantly, I want us to remember - we are TEACHERS. Which to me, a teacher is Humble. A teacher is kind. And a teacher does not claim ownership of the curriculum or the results of their students. A teacher does not teach for recognition, approval, or to be praised.

Now, I am not saying you don’t deserve to pat yourself on the back - because teaching can be really hard! What I am asking of myself and of my fellow yoga teachers is to be Humble. To remember that we chose a path of Service. We chose to share the teachings of yoga openly and honestly with anyone that shows up.  We have agreed to hold the space for our students to experience the beautiful introspection yoga facilitates without expectation, greed, or attachment to the results.

And that, my friends, does not make us more special than anyone else.

With Love,

A Yoga Teacher