Teaching yoga is more than just a job—it is a process of self-discovery. It is a way to learn about the layers that we all have and how to shed the ones that are not serving us so we can dig deeper in and nurture the ones that are important.
Teaching yoga over the past 7 years has been the most transformational period of my life. I have uncovered strengths I never knew I possessed, learned to face insecurities head on, and discovered what is meaningful about life while letting go of many things along the way.
Here are just a few of the pieces of self-discovery that you might find on this path as a teacher:
1. You learn about yourself; the good, the not-so good and everything in between.
Things you may have avoided before now become food for thought. There might be things about yourself you never realized existed that start to surface. This just means you are tuning in and being present.
2. You learn that there is no good and there is no bad. It all just is.
Assigning definitions such as things being “great” or “awful” my start to drop away, at least to a certain degree, and you discover that it is all a part of the process of life. Just as you tell your students to breathe into a sensation in an asana we learn to breathe into the moment and deal with life.
3. You learn about how you show up in the world and how others respond to you.
This can be a challenging part of the process. Seeing aspects of your personality mirrored back to you by your students can be shocking.
Listening to myself speak in public, hearing students ask questions based on what I have said, and give feedback on my classes has all been both difficult and utterly enlightening. At first I was surprised by some things, but now I see everything that my students give me feedback on as an opportunity for growth.
4. You see a deeper level of yourself by watching your mind and seeing where it goes in times of uncertainty and stress.
We can learn to recognize when we react with fear, when we react with compassion, and when we don’t react at all. Each piece of this is a process of self-discovery and growth.
Why is there a fear-based reaction? When we are compassionate, we can learn how to harness that feeling and carry it into other parts of our life. When we avoid something and don’t respond at all, there is a piece of self-discovery as well.
Why are we not responding? Are we avoiding? Are we unsure how to respond? This too is a chance to dig deeper.
5. You will learn about finding meaning and connecting with things of substance and value.
This also means letting go of things that zap energy while having very little value. You might find there are things and/or people in your life that don’t serve you well and that might be an energetic burden.
Learning about our values and what is meaningful might be accompanied by the need to let go, but that is all a part of the path. Embrace it and let your self-compassion guide you to a life that is filled with things that nurture, not things that are draining.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a yoga teacher? Have you made discoveries about yourself? How have those served in helping you create a life of meaning?