Don't be a faker!
When I first began teaching, my mind was filled with what I should and shouldn't be doing. I should teach or say this, I shouldn't be smoking weed or cigarettes. I felt like I was supposed to "know" something more than the poses in order to teach.
While all of that was actually true for me, that mentality and anxiety really wasn't helping me become a better teacher. Until I saw that it was a sign for me to go deeper and to get the help to do so. I looked around endlessly for more trainings and certificates, something that spoke to who I was and what I wanted to offer. Something that would make me more qualified. But I myself wasn't there yet. What I have come to find is that the connection that I would build to my heart, my soul, over the following years is what qualifies me more than anything. Ironically the person who helped me get there could care less about certificates and will probably never give me one even if I cared enough to bug him about it. ; )
I got something today from a webinar, The Art of Helping by David H. Wagner, that I WISHED I heard years ago. He said … "It's ok to teach others to seek what you are seeking." This is so powerful because it takes off the pressure of pretending to know everything as teachers. I'm not sure why that seems to happen for many of us, but I know that it does. Maybe from our sincere desire to help others, as well as the shadow side of wanted to be liked, accepted, loved. Anytime we are "pretending" we are not open to the power of what we can offer as teachers. What gives me the strength and connection to sit and share my heart with others, has more to do with an un-doing so to speak than a doing.
I started to train with David immediately at the end of my Anusara training at Abhaya Yoga, and began learning what it felt like to be connected to the power of my soul. I began a relationship with my heart. Before that I hadn't the slightest idea of what emotions I was actually experiencing (or not experiencing), let alone the ability to articulate them or be present with what was happening in order to really see and be with my students. I spent much of my time before, during and after class worried about what I was going to do or teach or say, because it was all a struggle. As I practiced connecting to my heart, and my soul in meditation and leadership training, I began to see and experience all that I truly am -- unraveling the hard wired identifications that were causing me an intense suffering and blocking any experience of freedom.
It is so common for yoga teachers to have anxiety when they sit down in front of their classes, always feeling like they need to know more to be a good teacher. And yes of course we should always be honing our skills of the body when it comes to yoga, but the rest of being an authentic teacher comes from how comfortable you are within your own heart. Harshada also said in his webinar ... "You can't swindle someone's heart." This is so true.
We can train and support other people in what we ourselves are experiencing or have experienced. Beyond that, we are teaching others to seek what we are seeking. But if we aren't living true then we have to sit down in front of a class and take on some role. And our hearts can feel that. If you are sensitive you can feel that in other teachers and even if we aren't conscious of it, I believe that our hearts always know. I have taken on so many roles as I sat in front of my students. From pretending to know to masking the self-hatred surrounding my addictions or hiding the shakiness I felt about the drama in my relationships, many things have pulled me out of my center and made me unable to truly see and the serve the people in front of me.
When I began to un-do I started to become real and strengthen my container to hold myself and other people in a beautiful way. I will always be working on digging deeper into my heart and sharing what is deeply important to me and hopefully relevant to you. But now I can trust myself, I can be myself fully, and I can support others in discovering this for themselves. The path to authenticity is not easy, but it is totally worth it.
I am interested in bringing this type of integrity and service into the yoga world. It is important to me to help other women use their most authentic voice to lead others. To create a space and community for them to know that they are not alone and that we can all grow in this together. Without judgment or fakeness, in truth and in love. A place for teachers to connect, be real, and support each others common intention to bring more love and good into this world.
It also just takes plain old practice in a place where you are seen, heard and felt with respect and love to be able to authentically share your heart and wisdom. I hope you will join me for an Awakened Feminine Yoga workshop for women and for teachers or an Awakened Feminine meeting soon. Sign up here for the monthly newsletter and to get info on this summer's workshops, classes and retreats with myself, my Awakened Feminine parter Taryn and my teacher David Harshada Wagner. If you are interested in the highly recommended webinar mentioned, you can still sign up and get access on the Living Meditation website.
Let's get serious with our heart connection, have fun while we do it and really rock this summer with Love and Truth!!!