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.