I want to start this post by talking a bit about my teacher training three years ago; I have been a practitioner for seven years. I did not invest in a teacher training program until my teacher at the time asked me to go through with it. She told me that she believed I was ready, even when I had my own doubts. After discussing it with her for several months, I found my next teacher, the strong and wise woman who would turn me into a teacher as well. Before enrolling in her instruction I spoke with her about many things, my age, my skill set, where I was at both physically and mentally, and she agreed with my previous teacher that I was ready to undertake this journey. I studied hard with her for almost four months before being cleared to teach, and it has been an amazing three years since. I didn't do it because it was trendy or popular, I did it because the teachers I studied under and looked up to knew it was meant for me- they could see my passion, they could see my calling. Every day I am grateful for both the ups and downs of the long and extensive process that has been my training and my teaching thus far. And for the strong teachers who have given me this gift of a lifetime. I believe the most important thing to remember as a teacher is that you will still forever be a student, and that is what is most important. Never stop the learning, never stop the growth. It is infinite, and so are you.
So without further ado, the rant to end all yoga teacher rants. I feel this is a very important thing to address in the yoga world, so I'm taking a stab at it. (Remember, I am not directly calling anyone out and if you feel personally offended that only means you find relation and truth in your own life from the words I speak. I come as a friend.)
Every twenty something year old with her daddy's Amex and an Instagram account is a yoga teacher these days. And it is down right insulting.
A calling isn't trendy, it's not becoming something to impress other people with your title. It's not that because no amount of money, no period of time, no exotic destination can buy your calling. Who you are can not be bought, who you are cannot be forced. The second you try to pull on some mask called yoga teacher before you even understand the most basic principles of the practice, and before you can even get yourself through one short round of surya namaskar without need to look up a youtube video, well, you are just undervaluing yourself.
Why force, why rush into a "lifestyle" that is so clearly not you? Do the teachers you know inspire you? Have you even taken a studio class? Do you understand that being a teacher is so so SO much more than about your payday? It's not a meal ticket. It's not a fifteen percent off coupon at lululemon. It's not instafame. Does the title sound glamorous? Maybe. Do you want it? Okay, that's great. But you cant just buy it. You have to invest some hard earned blood, sweat, tears, melt downs, break throughs, and everything in between on top of your mat. You have to have a desperate burning need to share what you know because it lights every corner of your soul with such a ferocious flame that you can not imagine spending your time on this planet doing anything else.
Your heart has to beat for this practice and what it stands for before you can claim "teacher". Because if you do before any of these vital steps in the journey, you are not only cutting the world of yoga students short... You are cutting yourself short, 100%, of the journey via growth you can experience with this practice.
This is the same for any pass time, any passion, any hobby. Lets use rock climbing as an example; I first learned how to rock climb when I was nine years old. This equals eleven years of knowing how to climb. My step father climbs at an extremely advanced level and has for decades. It was important to him I learned, so I did. And I very much enjoy it still to this day. Do I practice rock climbing religiously? No, not even close. Do I know enough to teach anyone about it, even after eleven years of the know-how? Absolutely not. I wouldn't suggest to lead a team of inexperienced climbers up the Grand Tetons... The same goes for yoga teaching. It is absolutely just as dangerous if you do not have the skill set and knowledge at hand to safely direct a room of people who are entrusting their well being in you, both physically and spiritually...
But all of this doesn't mean I don't/can't enjoy rock climbing. It doesn't mean I don't know enough to hand out a few pointers, to inspire other people through the sport if I have the opportunity. But I don't bleed red rock canyons like my dad, I bleed namaste on top of my black grippy rectangle in a heated room as I spout chants in Sanskrit from my lips. And that is okay. I can enjoy something and not feel a need to posses it, especially when I am not invested fully. It is the amount you invest in your passion that makes it a passion. Take a mental note of your priorities, if your "passion" isn't front and center on that list, well maybe it isn't a priority at all and it's time for you to find a new passion. Or maybe it's just time for you to dig deeper. Stop diving in head first to a title or a lifestyle, take your time in the process of growth, or no one at all will take you or your heart or your mind seriously. We live in a world of instant gratification, with our take out dinners and text messages. Good things always have, and always will, take time. And if you intend to make yourself one of those good things in our world, well that will take time too. There is no such thing as "instant" cultivation.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!