7 things your yoga teacher wants to tell you (but won't)
I've been teaching for over a year now. I'm not going to pretend I'm an all-knowing yoga teacher. I'm not. Nobody is.
But during that time I've seen a lot of students. People who are new to yoga, advanced yogis who have practiced much longer than me, and everyone in between.
I talk to my students—helping them find alignment, teaching them about yoga philosophy or just chatting about how their day has been. I'm pretty open. But there are some things I only say in my head. These are those secrets.
1. Your ego is showing
Our society is achievement-driven. We want that shiny award. But there's no prize for yoga. And when you're pushing your body past it's limits, you're letting ego drive your practice. I can see it in your face. Yoga shouldn't hurt. It shouldn't make your face pucker in pain. Listen to your body, not your ego.
2. So is your ... um ... a$$
If you think your yoga pants might be see-through, they are. It's really not a big deal to me. I'm comfortable with your body but I'm not sure you want me seeing all that. (And I probably won't be giving you any hands-on adjustments in your downward facing dog.)
3. You inspire me (especially newbies)
My students inspire me, whether or not they realize it. Especially the ones who are new—who are trying to find something different, whether that's peace or self-love or physical strength. And when you take the modification I cue because it feels better and it serves your body, I want to hug you. You get it. Even if it's the first time on your mat, you are already a more advanced yogi than most, because you're in it for the inward journey.
4. When I adjust you, I'm not "fixing" you
Most students are OK with hands-on and verbal adjustments. I ask for permission before I touch anyone. But sometimes, even with permission, I can tell by your body language that you're offended I'm helping you find alignment in your warrior II pose. I'm not fixing you. You don't need to be fixed. I'm trying to help you deepen your practice or I'm helping you with your alignment for your own safety. Don't be offended. I love it when teachers help me with my form. We all need help.
5. Your savasana needs work
Savasana is the most challenging yoga posture. Why? Because it requires us to be still—to just breathe and be. When I see a student in savasana with her shoulders crunched up to her ears and her body tightened, I give her an adjustment and massage her neck to get her to relax. But sometimes, it just doesn't work. Some people are just so wound up that they can't physically relax. When this happens, I say a little prayer for her and hope that she keeps showing up to her mat and that one day she'll learn to let go. (P.S. I used to be that girl.)
6. I can't do it either
Like I mentioned, I have students of all levels. Including students who are more advanced than me. Because of that, I offer modifications for poses for students who need to take it easier and for those who want more of a challenge. Some of these advanced modifications are too advanced for me. Don't be discouraged if you can't do it. This is your practice. Your neighbor's practice is theirs. Neither is better than the other.
7. You are beautiful
There are moments in teaching that give me chills. When the music is just right and the class is flowing so beautifully, breathing in unison, I want to take that moment and put it in a bottle. You are so beautiful. And it's such an honor to teach you. I hope you think you're half as beautiful as I think you are.
So I kind of lied. Because sometimes I do tell you that you're beautiful. I can't help it. You are. But I wanted to include it in this list because you don't hear it often enough.
Thank you for sharing your practice with me. It's truly an honor.