Year 6 As A Yoga Instructor: What I Learned

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Last week, I celebrated another anniversary of teaching yoga. About this time last year, I wrote the post 3 Lessons From Teaching Yoga, so I've been reflecting over this year to see what new perspectives I've gained. I re-read my short post from last year and those three lessons of going with the flow, not expecting perfection, and not taking myself so seriously still resonate with me on a daily basis.

This year, I'd add the importance of showing up and being myself...

Showing up day after day is everything. I try my best to plan classes thoughtfully, to study and keep learning, to continue to go to trainings, to stay creative with new playlists and meditations, and to have a personal practice which inspires me to keep teaching. But perhaps one of the most importance parts is simply showing up AND being myself. I truly think these are two of my biggest roles as a yoga instructor, and they're applicable to all of us, no matter your occupation. The first part of this is obvious. I have to show up even when I don't feel like it. I'm sure you can relate. Consistency is key with a personal yoga practice, with developing challenging poses, with teaching yoga, AND with whatever you do, too. The effort of sticking with something is powerful. Teeny tiny steps add up. I know it sounds like a stale lesson, but if you take just 5 minutes and think back on all of the tiny steps and decisions that got you to where you are now, you'll see that more clearly.

BUT... the real magic is not just showing up. The real magic is showing up and being yourself. Thank you, Brene Brown, for writing an amazing book on this (Daring Greatly), which I've  written about several times before. It's not enough to just show up and go through the motions. It's not enough to show up and not be authentically you. You have to be courageous enough— and vulnerable enough— to be yourself. That's the hardest part... to have the guts to be YOU. If you think about it, you need vulnerability to do something courageous and you need courage to be vulnerable. I think this is probably a life-long lesson, but the more you show up even when it's out of your comfort zone and have the courage to be yourself, the better you get at it. This is true whether you're a yoga instructor, a preschool teacher, an attorney, or in some sort of sales. It will get a little easier every time.

...the more you show up even when it's out of your comfort zone and have the courage to be yourself, the better you get at it.

​I can absolutely attest to that. I don't enjoy public speaking, and I don't like being the center of attention. But I love yoga, I love sharing it with others, and I love seeing that our class made a difference in someone's day (or life), so I keep teaching. I remember how nervous I was when I started teaching 6 years ago. I thought about quitting several times just because public speaking was out of my comfort zone. I'm so thankful I didn't quit. By showing up class after class, I strengthened that part of me and eventually I didn't feel like I was going to hyperventilate before every class. And I'll be honest, it's hard to lead yoga and breathing techniques if you're the one having trouble breathing.I really cannot sum it up any better than Brene Brown does when she says "The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver every time." If you're facing something intimidating in life, be encouraged by this. Strengthening this part of you is like strengthening a muscle. The fear of stepping out of our comfort zone is part of the shared human experience. The sad part is that not all of us will accept the challenge. Not all of us will have the vulnerability and courage to show up and be ourselves.

Be your beautiful self and keep showing up even when it's hard.

Love & Light.

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