I've gotten tired of pretending
Be neutral. Don't pick sides. Or pick fights. Only speak in universal truths. Check your ego. Check your bias. Don't judge. Don't ruffle feathers. Sound more PC. Keep it to yourself. Only say things behind closed doors.
There's too many rules. So much tip-toe.
And, for what?!
Gasp! You might be seen.
Wait, what? I'm not here to be seen.
Yes, you are.
Otherwise you wouldn't be here.
As yoga teachers, we are often encouraged to keep our opinions to ourselves. That we shouldn't judge. Or that if we exploit our biases, we are egotistical.
I'm tired of people talking about ego. Or the act of killing it.
You need your ego in order to be YOU.
And I don't want to argue about the inflation of such. We know about that. Let's move on.
I'm a person. I have my biases. I have opinions. I have judgments. I have experience. I have a lot to offer.
I hate having to pretend that the above doesn't exist. Or that I should dumb myself down (I've had men tell me this, it's absurd). Or be polite and soft, or that I should smile (I don't know a single woman that enjoys being told to smile).
Back to the subject at hand...
Let's talk about some of the things/concepts brought up in a yoga teacher training. Here are some of the lessons I've been taught over the years:
- don't become friends with your students (obv. don't have sex with your students)
- keep distance from your students, as in you are teacher, they are student (don't show x, y, z)
- various teaching expectations; from keeping your voice calm to not making theatrical gestures
- speak in Sanskrit or cue poses in a poetic way, stick to yoga themes/philosophy/history, universal truths etc
- don't play music in classes (if you do, you're not a "Real" teacher)
- you can only teach "this" style, "this" sequencing, "this" way
- set an example of high standards, people will look up to you and depend on you
- be neutral, gentle, and PC (no politic talk or social issue talks with students)
- see a medium/psychic on a regular basis to coach me on my spiritual path and awakening
- don't take a billion different trainings, only take "mine" because it's the "right" one
It's not bad stuff, per se. But I've had a lot of questioning around every single point above. I respect studio boundaries.
I also can't pretend to be or teach something that's not really me. I can't hide in front of a group of people, because I cannot hide from my own damn self. Tried. Failed miserably.
I am just not tidy like that.
And I've certainly never paid a psychic/medium for any type of "coaching." (that's not a judgment, it is just not my thing)
I don't like referring to people in my classes as "students" either. If anything, ya'll are my teachers.
Sanskrit is not my thing. It's beautiful. But it puts me in my head too month, I'm up there enough, already. And it doesn't make me a better teacher.
If you're not a yoga person and you're reading this, you might think we are nuts. And, we kinda are, I'll be the first to say. Or maybe you want to join in on that (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
I promise not all trainings or teachings are that way though.
(One of my first and favorite trainings was spent doing asana (yoga poses), just about the whole damn time. Breaking down poses and working on modifications. Where to put what. It was all functional body mechanic stuff and how to teach other body-types. It was probably the most-effective because we were actually working with the body)
What I do know is that teacher trainings are strong in their convictions with what they feel is right.
And there is something really powerful about that.
Even if we don't agree with a particular system, opinion, or stance.
I was called an arrogant asshole the other day for this post.
And it did not sting. It may have a time ago.
Here is what I am holding on to, I stand by my words in that post. Because I do believe that I am right. And I am not going to be neutral on things that I really care about, like the science of the body (there's way more, but I'll keep on subject).
I also tick off a lot of yoga teachers at times. That started before I even began teaching (thanks, social media!). I've had to learn to get used to that. It was really hard for a long time.
You know what doesn't work with people that are ticked off by you, because you're you -- is kissing their ass.
Tried it. Failed miserably.
To some this up, less treading the edge and more taking the leap.
My job (heck, my life!) is to not be on the sidelines or always agreeable. One of the best things I've heard was on a podcast that Alexandria was a guest on, awhile back (search the Yogaland podcast on iTunes).
She said something to the tune of (don't quote me exactly):
As teachers, our job is to confront people in the room. There's lot's of confrontation happening in the yoga room. And so many are unable to handle the confrontations that take place in a room.
You're asking people to show up and get in to their bodies. You won't be able to get people in to their bodies if you're not willing to show up, be in your body, and confront your own damn self -- you cannot expect others do so in your presence.
There's no such thing as skirting around or tip-toeing about.
No hiding allowed.
It's why you must be seen.
You are here to be seen.
I am here to be seen.