Why do I teach yoga?

The first day of ESY Teacher Training (Season 2) was this past Sunday.  Such a pleasure to meet this group of motivated yoginis!  In one of our breakout discussion groups, someone asked me why I decided to teach.

I thought back a bit.  I remembered that after practicing for about a year, I started a deeper investigation into yoga.  I read lots (Yoga Journal magazine and website, “Yoga for Dummies”, both of Stephen Cope‘s books).  On a trip to Vancouver, I hopped the bus around town and practiced at 9 different studios.  I took the plunge and attended a weekend retreat at Kripalu with Stephen Cope and loved every minute there.

Call it fate, serendipity, whatever.  After all that adventuring in yoga world, the thought of signing up for shala was just a glimmer.  Until I found out that Dianne decided to start her first yoga school.  Then I knew it was “The Sign”.  The opportunity was being placed right in front of me.  I had to go for it.

So, I enrolled in yoga school to deepen my own personal practice.  I knew there was so much more yoga out there and I just wanted to find out about it.  Yoga school would offer me that opportunity.  I hadn’t intended on teaching to be part of my path.

When the current shala students asked me “Why?”, this was my immediate response to the question.  “I teach yoga so that I can become more aware of what the asanas feel like in my own body as I practice.  If I can’t feel it myself, I can’t explain it during a class.  It’s made me more mindful of my own personal practice on the mat.”

After some thought, I also added these reasons (quietly and to myself):

*I write about yoga philosophy so that I can investigate how the ideas resonate within me.  That makes it easier to develop a class theme based on what I’ve posted.

*I’m going to be at the studio anyway, so why not be paid for it?  And get a free membership?  Bonus.  I’m a householder, with bills to pay just like everyone else.  Welcome to reality.

*I like sharing the practice, especially with newbies or those that think yoga may not be accessible for them.  I was never a gymnast.  I only dabbled in ballet as a kid.  I struggle with a fear of falling.  My balance is a work in progress.  But using alignment principles in yoga poses has helped me tremendously.  I was confident that others could benefit in the same way.

*There was a Yoga Journal (Oct 2011) article about 5 moon-lighting yoga teachers.  They were from a diverse range of occupations (aerospace engineer, bus driver/mom, business consultant, lawyer, psychologist).  Each one gave a reason for why they chose to teach yoga, even though they have full-time careers.  I do yoga because it has a calming influence on my Type A personality.  My hope is that I can teach this to others.

I’m positive that this group of ESY shala students will enjoy the opportunity for self-discovery, over the next 6 months.  May they find their own reasons for taking this journey.