People who know that I’m a Yoga Teacher often assume that I am the world’s calmest person, I can do a headstand anywhere I please, I’m vegan, I have done the exact same style of yoga they have, and that I am an excellent chanter. Today I’m going to break the bad news; I am not an enlightened Yogi.
1. We are Zen masters.
I have battled with anger for a large part of my life. The hope of finding peace in myself is what originally drew me to Yoga. Meditation and Pranayama (breath work) helps me keep my anger at bay and at times even helps me develop inner peace. I’m far from a zen master as are a lot of Yoga Teachers I practice with. We’re all still working towards that.
2. We know every pose that exists and can execute them perfectly.
Everybody has limitations in their bodies and Yoga Teachers are not exempt from this. For me, forward bends are extremely challenging because of issues in my lower back and hips whereas back bends come easily. Neither of those attributes make me better or worse at Yoga, it just is what it is. Also, I have yet to attempt, or even read about, every pose and variation in the book let alone know all the Sanskrit names for them. (One day!?)
3. We are all vegan/vegetarian.
I’m not vegan but I am a vegetarian, and have been for years before becoming a Yoga teacher. Most Yogis I meet include meat in their diets and there is nothing wrong with that. No one needs to change for Yoga, but along the way Yoga may change you!
4. We have experienced every style of yoga out there.
There was a point when I tried out every style of yoga I could, but after becoming a Yoga teacher I rooted myself in the lineages of my mentors. Outside of Therapeutic Yoga I don’t often engage in any other Yoga classes. It’s not because I don’t enjoy other styles of Yoga, but because dedicating myself to my mentors continues my education in becoming a better teacher.
Confession: I have yet to try out ‘Hot Yoga – I do not do well with heat!
5. We know the ins and outs of the Yoga Sutras.
I have been studying the Sutras in one way or another for many many years. I spend every few months just focusing on one Sutra at a time and everyday I learn something new. I could spend the rest of my life studying them this way and could quite possibly never know the ins and outs. I’ve found from my interactions with other Yoga Teachers that not a whole lot study the Sutras after they have completed their training,
At the end of the day it’s good to understand that we are all on this journey, and we’re all at different points. I believe and hope that every Yoga teacher wants to be Enlightened, but this isn’t always possible in merely one lifetime!
Woman meditating via shutterstock