Celebrating 1 year of teaching yoga with my first blog post. It’s scary, exciting, intimidating and exhilarating all at the same time. I’m thrilled to finally share my thoughts, my teaching and my experiences here. Exactly 1 year ago today I was officially granted the gift of teaching and with it I have learned and grown SO much. Thank you to everyone that has tagged along or been a witness to my journey as a teacher. You’ve inspired me, supported me, and uplifted me and I’m forever grateful.
So why Teach?
I teach yoga for a number of reasons, mostly out of pure love for it and because I’m am truly meant to teach it. I could come up with a long list of all the reasons why, but it all comes down to love. I knew I wanted to teach before I even stepped into a yoga class. At 17 I would practice out of a book for hours on end, memorizing and perfecting postures and sequences and even creating sequences of my own. It was the missing piece of the puzzle. Even now, in moments of uncertainty, in moments of sadness, self-doubt, when I am low on confidence, I turn to it, any part of it (practicing, meditating, teaching, studying) and I feel whole. Wherever I am…happy, down, confused, just OK (and everywhere in between), my yoga practice is a constant reminder that I’m exactly where I need to be. Like anyone, I get anxious about the future, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing, moving down the right path, I doubt, I question if teaching yoga is enough–but every time I question myself I come back to the same conclusion: I’m meant to do this and I’m fine where I am.
I knew when I started practicing yoga that I had to teach. I came to that conclusion instinctively. Most people told me that I could do it, “but just on the side,” is what they would say. “Find a good career and just do that on the side.” While that can sound unsupportive they in fact had the best intentions. I explore other options for career paths; I even explore the possibility of putting my practice and my teaching aside in order to explore other options. I entertain a lot of ideas. My ideas, my exploring, my entertaining never feels quite right though. There’s the uneasy uncertainty that follows with it and I ask myself “do I even like that?” “can I even see myself doing that?” “do I really want to do that?” And more often than not the answer is no and I circle back to where I started: I’m meant to do this and I’m fine where I am.
dhar-ma (noun) principle of cosmic order
Teaching yoga is my purpose, or my dharma. Dharma has a lot of meanings but I most simply understand it as one’s purpose or offering to the world. Everyone individually possesses something unique within them that only they can offer. It can be anything good, bad, grand, simple, or any and everything in between. For a long time, every time I was asked to think about what I had to offer that was unique to me I came up blank. I couldn’t find the words for it. All I knew was that I didn’t have much to offer other than myself. I could offer my kindness, compassion, gratitude, humor, humility, honesty and service to others. I happened to find that I could best offer all those things to the world through my yoga practice and eventually my teaching.
I teach yoga because I recognize that yes, this is my purpose, but teaching is not for me or about me. My purpose is to show up and share my best self with the world so that others can find it within themselves to do the same. It’s my purpose to uplift, support, and nurture people around me through movement, breath-work, music, humor, and community connection. I recognize that everyone should have the chance to recognize and live out their own dharma, whatever it is. Maybe yoga will help them, maybe not. I know that when we’re true, when we’re authentic to ourselves, when we offer our unique gift to the world whatever it is, we are living in harmony with our purpose, our dharma. When finally find that, we will know exactly when we are living out our purpose. It’s not anything anyone else could ever tell you. Maybe it happens differently for different people. But for me things always fell into place seamlessly without me even knowing when I was headed down the right path. All signs pointed to “yes” when I got there. And there was a deep knowing within my core that was even though I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be in that moment, I was exactly where I needed to be.
Yoga has granted me the comfort and courage to say I’m fine where I am. Teaching keeps me close to my practice, it inspires me to keep headed further down this path. I know the more I grow the better I can help others, the more I have to offer others. Teaching encourages me to stay faithful to what I know and believe, it challenges me, and gives me the unbelievable opportunity to encourage and witness the transformation I’ve experience myself start to take place in others. It’s a way for me to give back and to share something that has offered me so much.
For that I am grateful. I am grateful for the people that have taught me and everyone I have been lucky enough to teach.
"Because wherever your heart is, that is where you'll find your treasure." -Paulo Coelho