How I’ve Decided NOT to Teach Yoga…
I am finishing my seven-month-long Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. For the last six months, every two-three weeks, thirty four other yogis and I have spent the whole weekend with three amazing yoga instructors studying and practicing Kundalini yoga and meditation. Last Saturday one of them asked us: “How many of you are planning to teach yoga?” She looked over the room and counted the raised hands. There were more than a dozen people; I was not one of them.
I had signed up for the teacher training because I loved Kundalini yoga, the studio, the instructors who were teaching the classes and how they were teaching them. I was also curious to see what this experience might do for me, but I had never intended to teach yoga. I was doing it for myself.
I hold three Master’s degrees in linguistics from two countries and have been working as a language professor for more than ten years. The idea of taking on the task of thoroughly and methodically studying a new subject and adding even more teaching to my everyday life didn’t sound appealing at all. In a way, this was actually my escape from all the teaching in my life!..
Right after that above-mentioned counting, a different yoga teacher came in, we began doing our daily sadhana and I was called on stage to demonstrate a couple of exercises. I gave the instructions, shared a personal story, told a couple of jokes and went back to my mat.
I saw my classmates smiling and laughing, and noticed that the energy in the room had shifted and started to feel lighter; it seemed that everyone had a good time and the first seed of doubt was planted in my mind. “Am I supposed to teach yoga?..” “Nuh!” My mind was quick to chip in. “Nonsense! In order to teach something new, first, you’ll have to learn something new really well yourself! Is that what you want?” – “Definitely not!” I agreed and went back to the safety of the clarity of my knowing – “I don’t want to teach yoga!..”
Several hours later, we were watching a video of Yogi Bhajan (the yogi who brought Kundalini Yoga to America). It was late afternoon, after hours and hours of yoga, meditation, lecture, lunch, gong bath… and my attention was fading in an out. “You can never become a master if you want to be a master,” I heard all of a sudden and woke up: “Does it work the other way, too? If I don’t want to be a master, does that mean I’ll become one?” – “Don’t be silly! It means NOTHING!” my loyal mind reacted right away…
At the end of the long day, I went home, made a salad, sat down at the kitchen table and opened my laptop to listen to a recording of a Neale Donald Walsch’s recent webinar. I haven’t had much time lately, so have been playing little pieces of it here and there.
The video was about thirty minutes in. When I pressed the “play” button, looking – what appeared to be – straight into my eyes, Neale Donald Walsch said: “The main message that I’ve received from my conversations with God is that our lives are not about us, but about the people whose lives we touch and the way in which we touch them.”
My fork dropped out of my hand and made a loud clinging sound that wouldn’t die out for a while after hitting the glass table, piercing my whole body at the same time as Walsch’s words were piercing my whole being…
The only reason that I didn’t want to teach yoga was because I felt burned out, very tired of teaching in general. I didn’t want to teach because of me, but what if I wasn’t even part of the equation???…
Have all these “coincidences,” all these messages on the yoga teacher training day titled “I Am a Teacher” been for me? Am I supposed to teach yoga?..
My mind was once again very quick and creative in responding to all those questions and concerns, and effortlessly reasoned me out of my growing doubts…
A week later, I was meeting with some friends for dinner to celebrate my birthday yet another time. There were supposed to be four of us, but one of my friends and her husband canceled the last minute, so “accidentally” it was only me and another yoga trainee.
We spent several hours chatting about this and that, catching up, and of course, speaking about yoga. My friend was convinced that I was supposed to teach yoga and spent about forty minutes trying to make me see that, too. I wasn’t buying it.
– How is it not obvious to you?? How can you not see that you are supposed to teach Kundalini yoga?! People need you to teach it! People want you to teach it!
– Which people? – I replied with a question and a big smile.
– Never mind. You’ll soon see for yourself!..
“Are you going to Corina’s class tomorrow?” I found a text message from another close friend on my phone when I got home. I went online to check the time of the class and saw a cancelation note: “My dear yogis, there will be no yoga class tomorrow. Enjoy the long weekend. Happy Memorial Day!”
“Oh, that’s right! This is the Memorial Day Weekend!” I thought. “She’s canceled because of the holiday,” I texted my friend.
“What a pity! Was really looking forward to a class in Red Rock…” – a reply popped up on my screen.
The three of us – my friend, her partner and I – spent some time looking for a class to go to instead and all to no avail. I don’t like doing yoga in hot rooms and it seems that for some strange reason, many studios, not only the “Hot Yoga” ones, have been switching to the hot environment.
“It looks like I am just doing my sadhana tomorrow at home (at a comfortable temperature)!” – I texted my friend past midnight after a fruitless search.
“We would join you for a class at Red Rock tomorrow morning,” the reply was.
“Awww That’s sweet,” I texted back with a smile, “but you wouldn’t because I would have to start at 8am at the latest and you wouldn’t get up that early after staying up this late, would you?” (The time was 12:26am at this point.)
The response was short: “We would.”
“People need you to teach it! People want you to teach it!.. You’ll soon see for yourself!” I suddenly heard the voice of my friend from several hours prior that night.
“Okay!” I replied decisively in my head, rising up to the challenge. “If people want me to teach yoga, I’ll teach yoga!”
– 8am at Calico Basin tomorrow?
– See you bright and early! Make sure to go bed soon.
– Already in bed. See you in the morning!
The class went very well, we had lots of fun, and my friends offered me great feedback at lunch later on that day. When I came home and got online, I saw an announcement from my yoga studio: “Due to Memorial Day tomorrow, we will not be having our usual Monday classes. Continue to enjoy your long weekend and we will see you on Tuesday.”
On the spur of the moment, even before my mind had a chance to asses and prevent this move, I forwarded the link to my friends with a question: “Should we do it again tomorrow?” It was really simply a joke, but the reply was: “We are in!..”
There was only one way to make me teach yoga at that time and that one way was to make it fun. God made it fun…
After the first two classes, other students began joining us…
“Man plans, God laughs…” comes to mind when I think about it…
Our little egoic minds are wonderful at protecting us and keeping us safe, but they’re horrible at seeing the full picture. There are bigger forces at play and there is a bigger Plan for all of us. Our Souls know what it is and gently, but incessantly, keep guiding us toward it, despite any plans, ideas and beliefs that our minds have about our lives…
“You’ve got beautiful pictures from your yoga classes,” a friend told me. “They’ll look good on your yoga teacher website.”
“I am NOT a teacher!” my ego tried one last time after an obvious defeat.
“I am not a woman, I am not a man… I AM A TEACHER!” the prayer that we say before every class came to mind right away…
Checkmate! My mind has surrendered and my Soul has rejoiced.
I am a teacher and I’ve loved every single minute of it!!!