“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown
Teaching yoga teaches me. Many times, it is a rich, joyful experience that opens me and connects me to others. But sometimes it brings on critics and protectors – an army full of voices there in the room admonishing me for getting my right and left confused, telling me to smile through the mishap with the stereo, correcting the instruction I left out thirty seconds ago.
Teaching is incredibly brave – our underbellies on display. As students, we know that it’s a real pleasure to be led by someone who can seamlessly masterfully present the work – be it a yoga series or a literature class – calling on seemingly infinite knowledge. But aren’t some of your favorite teachers and learning moments steeped in authenticity? I have such fondness for my teachers who owned their tics and slip ups, who were comfortable in their imprecations and weren’t chasing something they’ll never be. These teachers genuinely acknowledge, “I don’t know.” They allow space for you to learn, to see possibility for expansion and your own self-direction.
It sometimes takes all of my courage to return to teaching yoga. I love it so much – study it and ponder it each week. And though my mat is so central to my ability to find my way home, getting up in front of people and offering myself to others can be exquisitely hard. That is the nugget of its gift – the opportunity to surrender again and again to whatever arises in that space. The opportunity to be witnessed in the act of sharing knowledge, yes, but even more so sharing my humanness.