How Teaching Yoga Uncovers Your True Self
As a lifelong teacher, whether it be science, health or yoga, I love and appreciate the trust that people give me in my teaching. I take that very seriously. Patanjali tells us in the very first Yoga Sutra-1.1 अथ योगनुससनुं atha yoganusasanum that when we begin the study of yoga, both teacher and student commit to the practice, the teachings and to each other. More than an intention, it is a sacred vow that both are to honor.
Through this commitment I get to experience the change my students have over time and they get to experience my growth and learning as well. Whether we are together for a short or for a very long time, the teachings must resonate with us. We build trust and faith and over time, our kavaca, (pronounced-ka va cha), our protective shield starts to lift and our true selves are revealed—teacher to student and student to teacher.
About a week after my first Desire Mapping workshop, I pulled a card out of my truthbomb deck that said: “I see you.” How appropriate. I realized that the work I have been doing my whole life is about learning and teaching people about uncovering their true selves. Even all of my years as a school teacher were more about helping young people connect with who they were than about learning the facts about wellness or science.
I am grateful for those students who have been or are along for the ride willing to lift the veil between human beings as well as to share that I don’t always love what I find when I go digging for truth. It doesn’t always feel good, and it’s not always easy.
The same holds true in working with others.
Staying In It for the Long Haul
Some people run away at the first reveal behind their protective shield and some stick around for the real work—the heavy lifting, the deep excavations, the intense stuff. The miracle is that once you peel a few layers away and shed a few tears, there are many more opportunities for joy, peace and a new sense of self-love.
A dear friend who was pivotal in my growth through my early 20s and 30s told me that I had to trust and feel the bad stuff so that I could one day feel the joy as well. I didn’t believe her right off. I am grateful that over time, I remembered her words and was surrounded by people to guide me through many of those layers. By the way, it isn’t always painful; I’ve done some work that was quite humorous and uplifting as well.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about change, seeing people, the masks we hide behind, and how your yoga practice and/or teaching has helped you along your path.