When the Student Becomes the Yoga Teacher

When the Student Becomes the Yoga Teacher

When I finally completed my 200 hour Yoga Instructor Certification and became a yoga teacher, I felt like the world was my oyster. I just knew I was about to change the world, one stiff spine and pair of hamstrings at a time… all the way up until I was asked to teach my very first yoga class. Terror set in and I felt as if the end of the world was upon me. The amount of fear I felt was seemingly unnatural and caused me such anguish and caused me to reflect. Did I actually want this?

The class was overlooking the beautiful Newport Beach ocean at a world renown resort. I was told the class would be a mere 5-10 students; what actually showed up was 30. Thirty multi-level students, some who had never done yoga, some who practiced several times daily, some with previous back surgeries and others with various injuries littered all over the body. As the class was supposed to begin, thirty beady little pairs of eyes peered up at me and suddenly it felt like the sun had relocated itself directly above my forehead.

My music playlist didn’t work, there were no props to assist when stiffness left the student unable to follow along, and I gave a water break when the whole tank was empty among with a myriad of other problems I managed to face in that little one hour window. There were definitely several moments when panic threatened to overcome me and I secretly plotted my escape route of suicide 100 foot jump off the watery cliff side while calmly maintaining my composure while instructing the cues for Tree Pose. But I did in fact survive the first class, however again my awkwardness while teaching crept back into my mind as I began to feel like an imposter.  All of the amazing teachers that I take on a weekly basis are confident and have flare and style. I sounded more like a baby elephant trying to be graceful and failing horribly face plant after face plant.

I taught several more times until I finally attended a yoga teachers class by the name of Dani Sackman whose class was all of the amazing things and messages that I wanted mine to be. After class I waited after to talk to her. I told her that I loved everything about her class and that she was something I looked up to and wanted to be like when I taught but that I felt like such a fraud and ‘awkward annie’ when I was instructing. Dani laughed and told me that for the first entire year of teaching, she felt like she was half assed versions of all of her favorite teachers. She said she finally thought to herself, “Enough is enough!” and became herself. She asked me to think about what it is I love so much about yoga, then to become that and trust that the world needs a ‘Jade’, not another who was already out there doing their thing that I was trying to mirror. This theme spoke so loudly to me not only in the yoga world but also in all areas of my life. I realized there were so many times in my life when I felt like I was mimicking someone else rather than trusting who I was to be ‘enough’ and exactly who I should be.

I love yoga so much. Every single lesson, I learn from teaching or that being a student relates back to all of the other areas of my life. I simply have to remember the awareness to pay attention and listen to what life is trying to teach me while I am busy trying to be the teacher.

Photo – shutterstock.com