When I originally signed up to get my yoga teaching certification, I didn’t do it because I planned on teaching. I did it because I wanted to deepen my personal practice…because my bestie was doing it and it’d be a great way for us to spend time together, learning and growing together…because I thought it might be awesome to own a studio someday.
All those reasons are still valid for me, but now that I’m retired I’ve felt like I was supposed to teach. Being in front of people comes natural to me. I don’t really get nervous — I mean, maybe a little but I think that’s necessary to keep your edge. I enjoy helping people…teaching people…supporting people as they work to achieve their goals. I always have.
But I also know how I feel when I’m truly excited about something. When I’m amped up to do something, it’s all I think about. It’s all I want to do because I want to make sure it — whatever it is — is good. That was the focus I brought to the first class I taught, but since that first class I’ve lost something. I think I’ve lost interest.
This realization is hard for me to admit because so many of my friends are yoga teachers…great yoga teachers. I love watching them help people through their teaching, but it’s time I face what I’m feeling. I love practicing yoga. I love talking people into trying yoga. I love reading about the philosophies and trying new poses. I love leaving a class with some profound insight into my life…or life in general. But I don’t love teaching…at least not the kind of class I feel like people expect. I don’t want to be that serious teacher, talking in calm even tones, quietly walking around the room, gracefully laying hands on students to adjust them.
The other night I went to a fundraiser that involved mediums and talking to spirits on the “other side”. One medium in particular pulled a spirit animal card for me. It was a dolphin…the sign of communication and playfulness. She looked at me and said, “You need to be more playful”. And she nailed it. I want to be the type of teacher that lights up a room with her smile and laughter…that encourages students to talk and be silly…that dances around the room…and lovingly offers adjustments or high fives in the middle of class.
Even in “Corporate America” I wasn’t serious. I mean, I could be when I needed to be, but if the situation didn’t demand it then I preferred to bring humor…laughter…smiles to the task at hand. It was that desire to have fun…to be more childlike…to be silly…that made me think teaching yoga might be a better calling than a traditional 9 to 5 job, at least for a while. But when the opportunity came calling, it didn’t feel right.
Maybe that’s why I’m so intrigued by kids yoga and paddle board yoga. I see both as opportunities to blend teaching and playfulness with intention. I love the idea of playing yoga based games with kids (little ones)…and the idea of trying new things in the safety of water. Lose your balance and take a swim…what could be better!?! Maybe there’s a place…a need…for adult yoga that isn’t so serious. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to classes like that but I just don’t want to teach them. It’s not me. I’m silly. I like to make jokes…cut up…make fun of myself…lighten the mood…make people smile.
Life is so serious…in particular, my life has been way too serious for too long. Even as a child I was serious…forced to grow up quicker than a child should have to. So now that I’m in a position to choose how I spend my time, I’m choosing to spend it doing things I enjoy…thoroughly enjoy.
I’m choosing to do things that bring me joy and lift the spirits of those around me. I’m choosing to dance and laugh my way through as much of my life as I can. I think that might be my personal legend…to exist in my joy and in return help people find theirs…to laugh gleefully at life…to feel genuinely happy.
I realize that’s a pretty tall…and broad…order. I’m gonna sit with it for a while and see what comes up. Maybe that’s not it or maybe I’ll figure out the specific avenue to deliver my talent, but in the meantime, I’m not doing anything that doesn’t make me happy. Time to start being true to myself…and until I know exactly what I want, I’ll focus on eliminating the things I don’t want. Eventually, my path will be lit with only those things that light me up.