I practice yoga six days a week. As a yoga teacher I feel this is essential for me. I understand not all yoga teachers do this and that I am very fortunate to have the time to do so.
I find there are a number of myths among yoga students about yoga teachers and their yoga practice. So here is my insider view from my own perspective.
Myth one : Don’t you know it all?
Ha ha! Nope. Thanks for your faith in me but I will never know it all. Physically, philosophically and spiritually, yoga is a vast subject. No one person in the world knows it all and I am no exception. There is always more to learn….
Myth two : Are there yoga poses that you can’t do?
There are many yoga poses that I can’t do and I am grateful for that. I find working on a challenging yoga pose teaches me a great deal about myself and is a great way to develop my sense of being in the here and now.
Myth three: Aren’t you doing yoga all day when you are teaching?
Yoga teaching and practicing are entirely different activities. When I teach my focus is external. I am looking at my students. I tend not to demonstrate that much as a teacher. This is because I can’t see my students when I am demonstrating and I can’t help them. Sometimes a visual cue is necessary and helpful. When I do demonstrate a yoga pose in class I am still not really practicing yoga. I am talking to the class checking they understand and checking they are okay. My focus is not on my breath my focus is on my students. So I still need time to focus on my own practice.
I learn from this yoga practice. By practicing daily I practice on days when I really don’t want to. I watch my inner resistance and I learn to be with it. Teaching requires me to give from myself. When I teach I give everything I have in that moment, it’s a full-hearted effort. I am there for my students in whatever way I can be, in that moment. My yoga practice helps me stoke my own fire so that I can give more.
My yoga practice helps me to be a better teacher. It helps me to be more present when I teach. It helps me to be aware of my body when I adjust. It helps me to remember what is like to find something challenging. It teaches me what it is like to be a student. It reminds me why I love yoga so much.
For all these reasons and more, I practice yoga daily. My students inspire me to do so through their own dedication and I am grateful to them and my practice for all that yoga gives.
Do you ever practice yoga when you don’t feel like it? Do you think it’s important for a yoga teacher to have a regular yoga practice themselves? Share your thoughts.