December 8, 2016

Fellow Yoga Teachers, Hang up the Superhero-Cape.

wonder woman superwoman mom mother

Sometimes even yoga teachers can’t control their emotions.

Perhaps none of us should try. Right now, it seems the wrath of a thousand oms (the yoga chant practised by many yogis) has caused to break out.

Indeed emotions have gone not just astray but a little wild among my fellow yoga teachers following the news of Donald Trump becoming President elect. This meant that even downward facing dog wasn’t enough to placate even the (usually) calmest of teachers; such was the impact of this rather gargantuan news.

This seems to be the only explanation to what I considered a little un-yogi or even un-human—for example, to coerce a heavily pregnant yoga teacher to teach when she had admitted not being able to move, let alone teach due to grief at what was happening to her country. She was inconsolable and yet my fellow yoga teachers told her she still had a duty to teach, to take herself out of the equation and to make others feel better to which the teacher in question asked, “Am I not allowed to feel what I feel?”

This is certainly an important question for yoga teachers.

We are all sometimes faced with personal drama and outside influences, which can affect us in ways we hadn’t imagined.

Surely the emotions that come from these experiences should have permission to be released? Which is why we shouldn’t feel compelled to tell anyone else how they should feel (even if it carries positive intentions) if what is being felt is grief, anger, sad or any other powerful emotion. 

As yoga teachers we teach others how to embrace our feelings in different postures both physically and emotionally.

So why then, do I come across fellow yoga teachers who forcibly encourage other teachers not to feel their own feelings? It can sometimes feel like humanity has gone mad in the yoga world.

It’s as if our training manuals declare we’re meant to be wearing a big superhero yoga cape because we are superhuman creatures here to “serve the universe.” I wish.

Yoga does many many positive things but superpowers? Not quite yet. Which is why (until that happens) restoring ourselves needs to be encouraged more. This might mean taking time out, time for pause, time to reflect and, time to recharge the energy.

Because even yoga teachers need to embrace feelings and be allowed to…well, just feel. It doesn’t mean having an ego. It just means being human.

So let’s show a little more humility and be honest about emotions, rather than trying to cover them up. As the author of Kitchen Table Wisdom Rachel Naomi Remen once said,

“There’s no such thing as a bad feeling, only a unprocessed one.” 


Author: Kym Nelson

Image: a4gpa / Flickr 

Editor: Sara Kärpänen 

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