Teaching Yoga: The Pro's and Con's



Teaching yoga. Two words preceded and followed by a tidal wave of thoughts, feelings, and relentless effort to be the best you can be. You can choose to stop surfing the waves of teaching/learning anytime; yet, I suspect deserting the desire to ride that gnarly rush of elevation would forever linger. It is a lot like surfing. You practice. You fall. You practice more. You fall again. Your need to stand and ride the wave transcends your fear of falling and being pulled down underwater. The odds of floating to the surface override the risks of staying under. You have nothing to lose, right? Yes. No. Either way, it's an awesome ride when you hit a strong, rising wave. And, you learn the process of coming to shore until the next one.

Been practicing yoga ten years...teaching seven. Doubted my worth of being on the mat on front stage for awhile. Practiced...practiced more...gleaned a sliver of confidence each time...still practicing. Thousands of slivers make for a pretty strong foundation. The practice of teaching ignited a quest to acquire more knowledge...of everything. Beyond the asanas (poses), human body anatomy, psychological components, revelations from people of historical recognition and whatever else comes to the forefront of awareness. This endless desire to satiate a sensed void...it is not just the journey of myself as a teacher...but, as a body inhabited soul. The deeper I go, the more I can see and feel.

It's lonely. It's fulfilling. It gives purpose. As a leader, I feel like a lone wolf. I lead the pack and they follow. Practice ends and the pack leaves...and I stand alone. It'somewhat addictive...you can't wait until your next pack of followers present themselves to you. The accolades are temporarily gratifying. Kind of like a shopping splurge. You break down and spend more than intended...feel good about what cool outfit or jewelry is in your hands for a moment and it fades in the background of your consciousness. You want more. You give so much...then, it starts to feel imbalanced...this philosophy of give and take can tilt too far one way.

Great teachers of anything make sacrifices to make a difference. Putting yourself in the forefront is risky business. You have to blaze your own trail. It tests your self-confidence, patience, and whatever weakness you unwittingly possess. The weakest link must overcome its propensity to quaver or falter. All the durability of the strong links quickly evaporates if an inner weak link breaks. A simple fact: "you are only as strong as your weakest link." I know mine.

Detachment. In life, yoga, and whatever else...if you attach yourself, your purpose...to anything or anyone...expect your heart to be tugged. As a yoga teacher, you are a source of leverage to help spring the student up and forward. Some students take longer than others. Some become friends. Some acquire what they needed and surreptitiously leave without warning. The energy of love has a fierce gravitational force. But, unfortunately, as a teacher, you must...for your own sake...find balance. Ease of physical balance pales in comparison to emotional and mental balance. I perceive myself being a tree on the moon...or, walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. And, sometimes I'm cosmically lying on crystalized soft sand getting blown kisses by the water drops leaping from the waves...and I remember to exhale.

Truth: I love teaching yoga. I love the sense of unity. I love my students...all of them. Each gives me a glimpse in their current life journey and I feel lucky and blessed to be a conduit at the moment. Second truth: I miss my best friend who died 13 years ago. I think I seek her in each student I teach. We traveled the same path for 20 years...holding hands along the way. Yoga helped heal my pain of losing her...but, it has also enhanced my awareness of existence beyond the physical. Selfishly, my ears want to hear her contagious laugh, my hand wants to hold her hand, my eyes want to see her radiant smile. The etchings special people carve in your heart cannot be unetched. My heart has become a tapestry of intimate weaving. Study artist's lives and you realize emotions splash the canvas, the words move on paper, a song's message touches the heart. The universal, common message is love. My practice of yoga has transformed into a creative means of expressing what words cannot.

So, I teach others to help them find their way...and somewhere along this process, I am inspired to press forward. It's not easy as you climb to higher altitudes. I have to pause to catch my breath...gaze from a new perspective...prepare to go higher. You can't stop. To stop is to stagnate and that contradicts everything you have learned, teach and know and need to explore. Students have edges...teachers have edges. We dance on the edge together.

Readers...I suspect you sense sadness...gratitude...focused detachment...love. It's real. It's me. I believe and practice the simplex philosophy to keep it simple, soul-mate. Nothing is simple, nor is it completely complex. It is a matter of finding the middle ground you can keep trekking forward on. Writing is a form of yoga for me. It stretches my thoughts and emotions a bit further than I'd like to feel. It pushes me to new edges of expression. Yoga opened space in my mind to allow words to leap from thought to form.
Pro's of teaching...love. Con's of teaching...love. All that matters is love. The Beatles we're on to something with the song, All You Need Is Love.

We consciously or unconsciously seek to make a difference while we exist. So, if raising and being raised by the frequency of love is my wave to balance on, I know I'm in the right ocean. Pro's and con's are mentally manipulated anyway. Love isn't.

That is the heart of yoga. That is the heart of living.
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