I left yoga class in tears today.
They were tears of gratitude. I felt profoundly grateful upon leaving class; not because my ego said I “got it right.” And not because I earned a ton of money. It was because I had a crappy day at my full time job. I felt desolate and empty, but I knew that teaching would wipe that feeling out, leaving me refreshed and refilled. It always does.
When I’m a student taking class, I have come to accept that whatever I need will most likely be offered to me in yoga. If it’s a sub for the teacher I thought would be there, if it’s a ninety minute class and I thought it was sixty, all will be well. I just have to open to the offerings and accept them. Of course, there may be times I don’t connect with a teacher, with the style, or the theme of class. That’s all okay. There are times I can’t be in the moment as much as I should. I sometimes still keep my angst about that mean email, the thing I argued with my daughter about, or the guy who cut me off with his Camaro on the way in. Yoga helps me through all that, and if I’m present, it allows me to let it go. But there are certainly times that I don’t, or can’t, or won’t.
It’s different when I teach.
As a teacher I am present, I am in the moment. I have to be. I have the responsibility of guiding people in a practice, making them feel acknowledged, and being sure they don’t hurt their bodies. It’s an enormous thing even though it may seem small. It’s the reason I try to learn more, taking training after training, soaking up what I can so I can give more.
And I have come to realize that teaching yoga fulfills me the way nothing else in my life can do. I have found my home. I have found my tribe.
I have found a tool to battle the insecurities that plague me and the self-doubt monkeys that are always chattering in my brain. Through kind mentorship and others who allow me to try, to create, to make mistakes, and to recover, I have strengthened my voice and steadied my stance.
It’s why I practice yoga.
It’s why I teach.