I Could Never Be a Yoga Teacher (and Other Stories I Tell Myself)

{Photo Credit :: Carrie Hensley}

{Photo Credit :: Carrie Hensley}

In 12 short days, I will embark on a 200 hour yoga teacher training adventure…… yet, right now my head is swimming with stories about why I could never be a yoga teacher:

  • I’m terrible at public speaking. My hands shake and my face turns red when I get in front of an audience. I get tripped up over the words when I’m trying to read out loud. I’m a rambling storyteller.
  • I have nothing unique or interesting to say. I’m not deep or spiritual. I’m not well versed in poetry. I make a fantastic supporting cast member, but not a star.
  • I’m too fat. Yoga teachers are skinny, fit, and beautiful.
  • I will make a fool of myself. I’ll put together awkward sequences and constantly mess up my rights and lefts. My mind will go blank at key moments and I’ll forget the sequence entirely.
  • I can’t do “x” pose. Yoga teachers can all do “x” pose. (Let’s not even mention all of the pranayama techniques I can’t seem to do…)
  • No one would want to come to my classes. And if they came once, they wouldn’t like my teaching and wouldn’t want to come back for more.
  • I’m not “yogic” enough. I get crabby, frustrated, and even angry. Plus, I eat meat.

(I could go on, but I think you get the point.)

What I realized tonight, however, is that underlying each one of these stories I have constructed about “who I am”/”who I am not” is Fear. Fear of putting myself out there in the world. Fear of letting myself be seen. Fear of being loved. Fear of failure. Fear of vulnerability.

See, teaching yoga all but demands that you get up there in front of the class and share your authentic human self with your students. You can go an entire lifetime in the legal profession (my day job) without discussing your feelings, naming your insecurities, or acknowledging that you have a soft underbelly. But each time we choose to practice yoga, we come face-to-face with our humanity…. and that is just plain SCARY!

But the thing about the stories we tell ourselves, is just that – they’re stories. They are simply one version of how we might go about explaining our incredibly complex reality. And it doesn’t take much to start poking some pretty big holes in these stories or to come up with equally plausible alternate versions.

Maybe I will complete my teacher training program and come to the conclusion that I’m not interested in teaching yoga (which would be completely fine because I’ve already got a great day job!), but maybe – just maybe – I’ll come to see that teaching yoga may actually be a possibility for me too.

17 comments

  1. Congrats on fighting through your fears! Have you ever read the book, the artists way? i bet you would love it as it talks about a lot of these things and how to fight through them. Can’t wait to read about your journey.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Rob! I’ve never heard of the book, but will definitely check it out. I always appreciate book recommendations! :)

  2. Thank you for sharing this. There are many fears you mention that are part of the dialogue I’ve been having with myself. Thank you for being brave and saying them. Beautifully written xo p.s. the artists way is pretty stinkin awesome, I’m going to be revisiting it. We can discuss! <3

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment Alicia! It’s definitely scary putting the real stuff out there, but feels good too (especially with all the IAY support! :)). Two votes for the artists way…. I guess I *really really* have to check this book out! xoxo

  3. What a great introduction to an epic journey. I look forward to traveling with you. :)

    1. Thank you SO much Madeline! <3

  4. well check you out Beckah. Welcome to life!! I’m proud of you for taking the shot. Don’t worry. I miss a lot too, but keep shooting anyway. why not? The great one (Wayne Gretzky – hockey), says we miss 100% of the shots we never take. Yep. So one shot down…..
    BE WELL.

    1. “Welcome to life” – LOVE!! Thanks so much for reading and commenting BG, it means a lot to me. Hope your Christmas is very merry! xo

  5. oh friend, i think i wrote this post in my head before i started teacher training. and practiced the script over and over again.

    just be yourself and your people will find you and love you.

    1. It’s funny how putting your fears out there in the open can in and of itself help make them seem so much less scary/realistic…! Thanks so much for encouraging me to consider tt way back when and for your support now. xoxo

  6. leslie strunk · · Reply

    bekah, i would love for you to connect with my friend lisa orkin (becca cuellar’s mom – melinda knows becca and lisa). she recently returned from a yoga teacher training in colorado.

    1. Hi Leslie, thanks for reading and for thinking of making this connection! Hope all is well with you and the family. xo

  7. ha, I know those feelings! I didn’t even consider training for years as I’m ‘ too inflexible’. Very glad now that I’m doing it despite the fear. Even double scared myself by giving up the good day job! Good luck.

  8. You have a lot of anxieties attached to yourself as a person a lot like me but if you want to succeed in life you have to challenge it, you don’t know if any of these negative points about yourself are true unless you put yourself out to the world and the likely of people saying you have all these negative features is somewhat unlikely, unless you challenge the bad points you have about yourself you are going to go out to the world promoting the fact that you think you can’t teach yoga etc! You need positive reinforcement! You need to go out there and ignore all these voices that are telling you that you are not good enough and say the complete opposite, ‘I can do this, I can become a great yoga teacher’ etc, etc and only then will people think that you actually are, positive attitudes attract positive people, you may still think negative in your head but if your body language is promoting positivity it is likely that people will start to like you, etc and you will start to challenge the negative thoughts as incorrect.

    I have so many anxieties its unbelievable, but I try my best to hide them all away and promote to the world the person that I want to be and hopefully with enough work I will start to become it! :)

  9. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

  10. I can totally relate to how you feel, so this blog made me lol! Looking forward to growing, discovering and learning with you!

    1. Patty, yes, I am so glad we’re in this together! xoxo

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