Well, it’s almost the end of the school break and time to start preparing for the winter term of yoga classes. As I look ahead, I’m so grateful for being able to continue on with the work that I love. It doesn’t quite fit properly to label it as work but I can’t think of a better and as concise description!
The truth is, I’m lucky to be at this point this year. Earlier this year I was having some serious doubts about the future of my yoga teaching. I was standing on the precipice of a decision that could change the course of my life. Do I want to be a yoga teacher anymore? I’d been plagued with all kinds of worries, some real, some perceived but mostly I now see they were false.
Being a Perfect Yoga Teacher
As the popularity of yoga increases at a rapid pace so too do all the pressures on yoga teachers. Pressure to be perfect, to be everything to everyone, to be relevant amongst all the hip new teachers on the block, to have classes running every day of the year. There is beer yoga, goat yoga, nude yoga; the list is endless! I’ve struggled with how as a little yoga school we are to survive and keep up with it all. At times, I’ve felt it might be easier to just stop teaching as I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of all of that. It seems so counter to the whole point of yoga and I questioned whether I wanted to be labelled as a yoga teacher at all anymore!
I spent some time soul searching, meditating and resting alone. Then I had discussions with mentors, yoga teachers, friends and my amazing husband who bears the brunt of most of my insecurities. The unlikely conclusion I came to was that I am not going to try and “keep up”. It goes against the grain of what yoga truly is. Yoga is a 5000 year old plus practice, it doesn’t need to be kept up with! I felt silly for not seeing this straight away and maintaining it as my point of focus.
Re-learning To Be a Yoga Teacher
I felt quite shaky teaching class in the weeks that followed. After 15 years, it was almost like I was learning to teach all over again. Over those weeks, the most amazing thing happened. I remembered the very reason I turn up to teach every day. It has always been for the students. I had somehow lost sight of that in my own self-doubt.
Over those weeks I had some seemingly random and very well timed encounters. One by one several of my long term students approached me after class and opened up as to how much their yoga practice means to them. A few even said they weren’t sure what they would do without their weekly classes. After one such encounter, I burst into tears of happiness that I had heard exactly what I needed to help me along. It firmly reinforced to me that I will most certainly keep doing what I’m doing! Especially for the students that said to me “We worked out that when we are in our 80’s you will be in your 60’s so you’d better still be teaching classes so we can keep coming!”
Rescue From An Unlikely Source
So, you see, I ended up being rescued by the very ones I was trying to help; my students.
“I’d like to thank my fans” always seemed to me like such a throwaway line. Now, I see that this is everything to a yoga teacher, me included. I don’t mean that everyone has to like me, far from it. However the students who turn up to class each week are the reason why I will continue to run my little yoga school.
Thank you so much, I love you all!!!!
Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth. She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.