I saw a little video the other day about how ‘yoga ruins your life’. It is about how after you get on the yoga path, your world view changes. You check-out of the stress-rat-race-wheel, you become more interested on your inner-life than accumulating stuff and status, and you kind of live in yoga-time, which is a slower, more considered pace that that of the rest of the world.
You can see the video HERE, it is only three minutes long, but **be warned – the poses shown are ADVANCED ASHTANGA YOGA POSES. This is not the kind of yoga happening at your average yoga studio and it is certainly not where I am at with yoga, so don’t let the advanced poses in the video put you off if you are contemplating a yoga class. I share it with you for the ideas rather than the yoga shown! lol! **
Yogis are ‘ruined’ for normal western life, but in a really good way….no longer prepared to accept bullshit or pointless stress.
In four weeks time, I finish my yoga course! – it’s been an intense couple of years and I have learned so much about myself during this time. So, I’m feeling in a reflective mood…and proud of myself, too.
Here’s a bit of a recap of my yoga experience over the last coupla years.
I started teaching one class a week as a student-teacher last March. I blogged about my nerves regarding starting to teach HERE. Oh man, was I nervous! & after I started, I used to spend Mondays feeling physically sick about teaching that night….thankfully, I don’t anymore. I am now experienced enough to not think about class until I’m getting ready for it. You can see my Zing teacher profile HERE.
I have taught almost 100 classes. (In yoga, achievements are measured in 100s, I’m not sure why. So my course is a 200-contact-hour course, and reaching your first 100 hours of teaching is big achievement.) After you do a 200 hour course, you can ‘upskill’ to a 500 hour course.
But the truth is with yoga, that it is a life-long learning practice. You can never know enough, you can never know it all…….and you have to re-learn things through life lessons. Sometime yoga will dump you on your ass, if you need to learn something quickly.
I’ve been on a couple of yoga retreats, which were both amazing. Blogged HERE and HERE.
I have an essay in Anna Guest-Jelley, of Curvy Yoga’s ‘CURVY VOICES’ – an e-book of essays by ‘curvy’ (FAT!) yoginis. You can request it for free from HERE.
I have covered classes for three other teachers, two at my own studio and one a weekly public class at an art gallery. It is HARD covering a yoga class. People get very very very attached to their yoga teachers and every teacher has a different style. Sometimes you walk into a class you are covering and people glare at you, not because you have done anything wrong, but just because you are not their teacher, they are stressed and want to sink into yoga and because of you they are having to cope with something different, something potentially stressful, and boy, do they hate that! I’m glad I did it though, good learning experience!
I also have to cope with a lot of skeptical glances, people judging my body and raised eyebrows when people who don’t know me very well find out I teach yoga.
‘Suuuureeee, you do’ I see in their faces. People still have the delusion that a) yoga is all about the body (in fact, physical poses are merely one strand of EIGHT yogic practices), that only thin bodies are strong and fit, that a plus-sized teacher would teach an easy, unchallenging class. (My students will tell you this is not true!)
I am fat and flexible and STRONG. These things co-exist in my body! I am also skilled in helping students look inward, breathe, find calm – important yoga teaching skills.
Sometimes it is hard to take and it gets to me, sometimes it runs off me like water – it just depends on how I’m feeling that day. The important thing is that I keep returning to my mat, and then anything anyone else thinks disappears.
My fellow student-teachers and yoga teachers are a wonderful, eclectic bunch. Some are further down the spiritual end than others. Being part of a yoga cohort has meant that I have received spontaneous energy healings, gifts of flower essences, food gifts left on my doorstep, plant gifts, visitations from beyond, cranio-sacral healing, tarot readings, massages….and so much more! Once you step into a yoga community, you step into a river of healing and inner-work! You never know who is going to come at ya’ with an offering next!
Anyway, after December, I will be glad to have my Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons back, but I will also miss it, of course. After spending a lot of my adult life feeling physically inadequate and deeply unsporty, I have found and committed to a physical practice which nourishes my body and my mind and my soul. Yoga has helped me beyond measure and the only reason I teach it, is because I love to SHARE it with people and want to show people of all shapes and sizes and fitness levels that there is a yoga practice for them.
Next year I hope to increase the amount of classes I teach and also hoping to go on the road, offering some day workshops on the Kapiti coast and in Wellington.
Teaching more classes will come in a baptism of fire, when our head teacher, Nat Allan, heads to India for ten weeks in Jan/Feb and leaves us to run the studio without her. GULP!
I know the final month of class will zoom by. I am so proud to have overcome a lot of my fears, neuroses, body-angst and self-doubt to step over that chasm from student mat to teacher mat.
I also look forward to carrying on learning and practising yoga for the rest of my life.