We’re not all über enlightened, peaceful lotus blossoms.
In fact, some of us are kinda fucked up.
I bet you first came to yoga for the same reasons I did… disillusioned with life, dissatisfied, looking for meaning in something besides the bottom of a Jack Daniels and Diet Coke.
Picture this: a hot, sweaty bunch of people breathing and moving through Surya Namaskar B…The Beatles are playing, the teacher is saying something about lifting up through the heart in Warrior 1 (whatever that means) and you’re trying not to look at the clock because if you did, you’d know that the sadistic chick is now keeping you in Chair Pose way too fucking long.
Is this really the road toward liberation? Or just a good Groupon deal?
I do yoga—I must not think bad thoughts.
For me, I found what I came looking for and yeah, yoga saved my life. It took a while, and I’m pretty sure I have many lifetimes left to properly dispose of all the karmic garbage I’ve left behind. I certainly don’t want my shortcomings, my mistakes and my bad behavior sitting in a festering pile under the blazing sun, gathering flies. Do you?
Like we in the yoga world always say, “Pick up your shit, I’m not your mother.”
As teachers, we try to create and hold a space for you for the inevitable confrontation between you and your darkest fears and insecurities, at which point you may crack open like a bad egg and spill all over the place. Have you ever cried on your mat? Of course you have. It’s hard work, chipping away at those egocentric illusions about your life you’ve worked so hard to protect. But you’re not alone. I can’t swing a cat by the tail in a yoga room and not hit at least twelve people with a broken heart, low self-esteem and/or daddy issues.
We’re not so different, my delicate snowflake. Want a little peak behind the curtain?
- If the your teacher seems a little hungover, she probably is, especially if it’s a Sunday. The dead giveaway? She has a Big Gulp from 7-11 in her car. There’s only three things worth buying at 7-11: scratch-offs, Advil and junk food, which includes soda. Oh, and condoms.
- Sometimes, the teacher can’t read you guys. Sometimes, 22 stone cold faces are looking at her, and she has no earthly idea what you’re thinking…and the truth is, you’re just sitting on your mat, taking moment and sipping on a little water because your thighs are on fire from that Chair Pose that lasted, like, a half an hour. But in that moment, she feels like you’re judging her, or you’re hating her and her stupid class with the stupid Beatles.
- There’s an In-N-Out across the street. Yes, I know it’s only 9:30 in the morning. But I got up early.
- We can’t do every pose. Sometimes, that’s why we have one of you move into Eka Hasta Padangustha Urdhva Dhanurasana while everyone else watches. (Okay, I admit I just wanted to say that, out loud, which I just did, just for the fun of it.)
- Sometimes we feel like we don’t know shit about teaching yoga. Maybe I missed my calling. When I was younger, my dream job was to be a cake decorator (I had a little sugar problem). Or a ring-card girl, the chick in the bikini holding up a sign displaying the number of the round at a boxing match. My parents would have been so proud.
- If the teacher seems distracted, slightly “off” or otherwise preoccupied, it’s possible she’s having a bad day. We desperately try to hide this from you.
- I swear a lot, but I’m trying to be sunnier. I’ve been slacking on my meditation practice, but I stay pretty mellow and I rarely lose my temper. I eat meat, but after reading the book “Mad Cowboy,” I may change my tune. And yeah, that was me blaring Led Zeppelin as I pulled into the parking lot.
- No one likes Chair Pose.
- When Savasana comes, often times she wants to lie down with you and take a little rest. Seriously. It’s hard work teaching you guys.
I was 30-ish when I went to my first yoga class. My father had just passed away, and after the shock wore off I went through what you might call a “self destructive phase.” It was then when I moseyed into my first yoga class on a Saturday morning at the gym. I had no idea what was happening; it may as well have been a witchy voodoo cult, complete with bizarre language and freaky poses.
I’m a teacher because I love it. I’m not sure if I ever would have had the guts to strut around a boxing ring in a bikini anyway…but I can move through Surya B like a hot bitch.
After all these years, I’m still mystified about this practice. And that’s what I hope for you… stay teachable. Be brave. Let yourself fall apart, and trust that you’re strong enough after all those Chaturangas to pick yourself back up. Never doubt yourself. There’s a river of liquid light moving through you. Offer your efforts up to something bigger than yourself.
And know your teacher is right there on the same illuminated path as you, sweating it out, lifting up in the heart, moving toward the light.
Want more secrets? Read this: Dirtier, Sexier, & Downright Ghastlier Little Secrets of a Yoga Teacher.
Still not enough? Read this: The Dirtiest Little Secrets Of A Yoga Teacher: Now We’re Getting Ballsy.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise