I've only been teaching yoga for about six months. I didn’t do teacher training to make a career change, so it’s been an interesting year of deciding what I want to do with my teaching knowledge. While sometimes I’m still unsure about it, I’ve found leading a yoga class to be extremely rewarding.
In November, I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. Physically, it was probably the most debilitating injury I’ve ever had. I hurt my tailbone badly (likely a hairline fracture, according to my physical therapist), suffered a chipped tooth, and bruises that became a gory show-and-tell to all of my friends. It went something like this:
Friend: OMG Are you OK?!
Me: Let me show you what my bruises look like! (Grab my phone for photos.)
Friend: GASP. Oh my god. OH MY GOD!
Fortunately, bruises heal. The mental anguish I suffered after the accident was something else entirely, and I wasn't prepared for it.
I became depressed. I was unable to exercise or practice yoga. I kept asking the universe why this happened to me. I was confused. I felt extremely alone — despite the care from my amazing friends — and was in constant physical and mental pain. I was in a downward spiral of self-pity.
Despite my emotional state, I only missed teaching two classes because of my injuries. But once I went back to teaching, I felt like a fraud. Mentally I was frozen in my own practice and had not gone back to the studio. I was in a state of total paralysis when it came to yoga. And my teaching felt stale and forced because of it.
During my teacher training last year, I raised my hand early on in the three-month process and asked my teacher what she does if she simply doesn't feel like teaching. “Go to a yoga class beforehand,” both she and her assistant answered simultaneously. Well, I hadn’t done that. And I definitely didn’t feel like teaching.
I called my yoga boss to tell her I needed some time. She told me she’d sub out my classes until the end of the year. I didn’t teach for three weeks.
During the month of December I pondered just quitting altogether. I don’t know why I teach anyway, I told myself. I don’t want to do it full time. I’m not making any money. It’s taking time away from my own practice.
Then, New Year’s Eve was suddenly upon me. I had to make a decision. I called my boss and asked if I could sub out one last class on January 3rd. It was a Friday; I would start fresh Monday. She said no.
So I made the decision then and there that what I do is help people. I'm providing a service to the community. My students rely on me and look forward to me and smile and clap for me after I teach them.
All I wanted when I got hit by that car was for someone to help me. To deny that to anyone else when I can provide a skill they don’t necessarily have on their own would be plain stupid. So I’m not going to do it. I am a yoga teacher. And I am proud of that.