*Warning: a couple of well-chosen four-letter words below.
This is an invitation, to new teachers or to teacher trainees, to trust that what you have to offer—it is enough.
This is a reminder, to every body who has ever stepped into a yoga class and felt less than—you are not less than.
This is an offering, of the idea that it is okay for all of us to be where we are, and that our value and the value of each class does not start end rest or rely on us all being the same.
This is a shattering of the “how-to” beliefs poured in concrete and the spoiled, disempowering perceptions that a piece of paper gives us the right to tell others what to do. Because in this yoga class I do not care what you do.
I don’t care if your poses look anything close to “right.”
But, if you want to, you could start to notice how they feel.
I also (shockingly) don’t give a flying fuck about inversions and I won’t be demonstrating mine to the class.
On that note, I probably will drop a curse or two in the middle of class and if I don’t my music definitely will and it will probably be loud music.
If your teacher prerequisites include that they’ve traveled far and wide and studied under important influencers, then I’m halfway there—but I sure as shit am not going to brag about it in an attempt to win your attendance in my class.
Would it be enough for you to know that the only way I got to where I am is through trust and with heart?
And if it’s not enough, would it be unnerving for you to know that while I hold this space for your journey, I am simultaneously still somewhat shattered and still figuring out what it means to be whole?
If you just want to show up and be told what to do and feel like you’re a champ because you can mimic how the teacher moves then please don’t show up because that is not how I define “show up.”
Or do show up.
If you still want to take a class with me.
Just don’t expect me to show you how to do this thing we are all calling yoga.
That’s not what I’ll do in this class.
So then, are there any reasons left to come to my yoga class?
First, let’s get one thing straight: this is not my yoga class at all.
This class is for you.
I’ll say it again: you are not coming to my yoga class.
Perhaps your last teacher forgot that and taught you from their heads the entire time, thinking that it was them you came to see and their wisdom you came to sip.
Maybe it was—I just don’t teach that way.
Not because there is no value in it, but because it is just not true for me.
And the only way I can stand in front of this class and hold the space you deserve is when I do so from the place that is true.
So now that you know you aren’t here for me, and we’re under no illusions about what I won’t be doing with you for the next hour, let me tell you what I will do.
I promise to only speak to you from my heart and I promise to speak it loud and clear.
I promise we will move and flow and stretch and sweat—unless you want to dance on your mat or sleep in savasana the whole time, in which case I promise to let you do that.
I promise we will laugh and smile and try out some new moves, and I promise some of us will be bad at them too.
Please know that you truly can’t be bad at yoga, and my wish for you is that you stop feeling bad.
Or if you are going to fall and feel bad, I hope that you feel all the bad and finally let go of the need to label your feelings and your yoga as good or as bad.
Will you get uncomfortable without the rules and boxes you are used to?
At times you will be unsure of what is coming next. At times you will learn to let go of the need to know what is next and just move with your trust and your heart.
But what I will give you, in those times, are options.
What I will provide, are invitations. In those times, and at all times, you are invited to inquire within your body and within your heart of hearts and to ask yourself what. do. I. want? And to really listen for the answer, maybe for the first time this lifetime.
When was the last time someone asked you to only move in a way that feels good and fair to your body?
I am going to ask you to only move in a way that feels good and fair to your body. I will not tell you how deep to go or where your foot has to be to make this all real, because you being here is real enough.
I am going to encourage you to soften.
Soften your expectations and your expressions.
This is not my yoga class at all—this class is for you.
Learning to Breathe Again: How Yoga became my Trauma Therapy.
Author: Emma Tait
Image: Courtesy of Alison Vieira Photography
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy & Social Editor: Nicole Cameron
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