Often it is said that to teach Yoga or Meditation we must first have mastered it. To be honest, i have mastered neither. Nor do i consider myself a teacher, or leader, both do not come naturally for me.
Alongside what seems to be a rather unconventional fit for a Yoga teacher, the truth is: i am uncomfortable with the westernised popularity of Yoga. You won’t find me teaching in a commercial, for profit, privately owned Yoga studio, wearing lululemon, or supporting brands at a Wanderlust festival.
I find this side of Yoga awkward. While there is the argument that any Yoga is good Yoga, the reality as i see it – as it has become popular, it has become a commodity. From this perspective yoga has fallen out of alignment with the principles of its living ethics. Not surprisingly, i find myself on the outside of many Yoga circles and many people’s current perception of Yoga.
i am not a Guru. i don’t teach yoga as a career or to make profit , teaching has not come from a place of awakening and a want to tell people how to achieve it, or that i can hold a beautiful pose and need to share it, nor do i have natural charm. Rather the opposite, it is rooted in imperfection and ignorance. I am a student that has much to learn and so i teach. Yoga in its wholeness is the ultimate teacher in humilty. In the ways in which i commit to practice will reflect how thy-self is revealed fully in truth, to the world. To undo beliefs about who I am, all the while, deeply cementing thy will to experience the pure unadulterated self.
We are all just walking each other home, teaching is one of many ways to experience this. -ram dass
Intriguingly, i am coming into my 13th year of teaching Yoga, and soon to begin teaching people in my community, how to learn to meditate the classical technique of Hong Sau. That somehow despite my choice to not conform to the commodification of Yoga or that each year the number of new teachers now offering Yoga in my small community has increased, that i don’t promote a particular trend or style of yoga, there is space for my unassuming and slightly rebellious presence in the community as a Yoga teacher.
After 20 plus years as a student firstly with Yoga then Meditation, i have come to realise, that i have matured in my relationship with both. No longer needing to listen to what people, say to do or not to do, advice like ” you need to practice for an hour and half everyday”.
Of course it is true that these actions will benefit. In no way do i suggest that we shouldn’t follow the ways of the old, there is infinite magnetism & wisdom there. However my experience of living Yoga in the world today, is at times the old ways of practising are simply not appropriate or relevent for the complexities of our modern world. Often i just felt guilty for not adhering to the must do’s and dont’s what good comes from guilt?
i dumped the guilt, and stopped listening to the advice and just did what i needed to do, practice for me. i practice yoga not as a fixed or rigid thing that I have to do a certain way all the time – but to transcend the illusion that life is that. And now when i teach, i offer that which i have learned through my own personal practice and from my teachers. I offer that which i believe to be beneficial & grounded to those living in the world like me.
Do Asana “every damn day” if you want or don’t. You won’t find me telling students how and why they should practice. What i do encourage, is to find that place, the energy, whereby you practice for your – self, from a place of internalistion – find your own way – out of fixating on how your practice should be.
I offer yoga – as the voice that returns you back into the present internal experience and awareness. Which is an entirely different experience to practising yoga for its physical benefits. i am the voice that reminds you to move away from limiting stories and judgements that creep into a practice. Stories we tell ourselves about what our body can or can’t do or what we need to fix that can add tension to our practice. The stories that keep us in duality, willing the body one way – but the reality is something different.
In my class, i teach what i have experienced which is – the body is a vessel for spiritual inquiry, the gateway to something much deeper and that yoga is a great deal more than just Asana. When students come to me at the end of class with tears or offering deep gratitude for what they have released or realised from that particular class – this is when we – the student and i – walk each other home. They confirm that i have on some level integrated, that which i have taught.
This is why i teach yoga.