I had a four-year break from teaching yoga. It was supposed to be a three-month maternity leave, but I underestimated the workload of caring for twins.
During this time, I enjoyed attending classes without “Ahh, that’s good. I should write that down” running through my head. I enjoyed having a glass of wine without people asking, “but aren’t you supposed to be a yoga teacher?” I liked not having a label, except being “just a mum.” I felt I could get away with having the odd strop at my family, without them saying, “But aren’t you a yoga teacher?” I liked not feeling a nagging pressure to practice on days when I didn’t wish to or didn’t have time to simply because “I was a yoga teacher.” It was nice to be label-less.
However, I gradually found my way back to teaching public classes, and it’s been heavenly. I feel so much fresher than when I left, heavily pregnant and slightly burned out. I incorporated the way I had felt during my break, determined to keep the “me” in my teaching this time around.
I’m still having trouble with queuing left and right and counting breaths while talking, but I relish the challenge. I love thinking on my feet and recalculating poses to meet the needs of everyone in the class.
But the main reason I love teaching is that it reminds me to emulate or exemplify sattvic living to my children. It is no longer “a reminder of who I want to be,” this calm, sattvic being. No, it’s a daily reminder of who I am. In essence.
Here are 11 other things I love about being a sharer of yoga. Not counting things like having a social conscience, practicing right livelihood, being a beneficial contribution to society and setting a good example for my kids, I have some personal reasons (which I didn’t fully appreciate before leaving) for why it feels good to teach yoga again. After each class I share, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to teach. When I say “Namaste” and bow at the end of class, I thank the divinity in each individual for bringing a unique energy to the collective atmosphere.
1. Wearing yoga pants all the time. Although one US state is attempting to outlaw this, I enjoy again having a somewhat robust justification for purchasing a sexy, expensive, made-from-recycled-bottles, environmentally-friendly pair of leggings. Instagram-ing filtered pics of me in them with the caption “peace” is not my style and I’m a little bit too old for hashtagging. (I don’t know how to do the little “V” peace emoticon, the tree one or the hands in a prayer one, anyway.)
2. Feeling real peace. As in having a job that helps me feel real peace and real connection to my friends, loved ones, students and Mother Earth and remembering that essence and roots again.
3. Reading all about yoga all the time. I have 50 yoga-related tabs open at anyone time.
4. Buying incense in bulk.
5. Getting pedicures is an almost necessity and can be classed as expenses.
6. Practicing Yoga Nidra as research for work.
7. Listening to all kinds of downbeat house while searching for perfect tracks for my class playlist.
8. Going to yoga teacher trainings. They’re akin to yoga retreats, but they can be expensed. The people I meet at trainings tend to become life-long friends, so any new training program excites me. When I remember a family law conference I attended once, I feel lucky to be surrounded by much happier faces at yoga teacher trainings.
9. Not having to put on sh*tloads of makeup or uncomfortably stiff clothing for work and getting away with having my hair all higgledy piggledy. In fact, I feel weird doing yoga in makeup for some strange reason, and I’m lucky that my hair doesn’t need much maintenance. I never felt comfy in my law job, shuffling uncomfortably in my sharp suit, heels and bra. Ugh. I haven’t used an iron in years. Hallelujah.
10. Working in bare feet. Especially when being outside, and taking my yoga mat anywhere and “working.”
11. Parking sluggishness. No matter how tired or in need of a nap or a green tea I may feel before a class, I park all that. The energy in the yoga room lifts me up, and once we get going, I forget the things that were nagging me before class. I leave my worries at the door and pick them up again afterward, when they always feel lighter.
Thanks to everyone I have met on this yoga journey, and to all my students future, past and present—thank you for enriching my life!
Author: Hannah-Marie Martin
Editor: Evan Yerburgh