We often hear that we should always just trust ourselves. This is especially important if you're doing a job where you are leading, guiding or encouraging others. As a yoga teacher, there are lots of temptations to say "the right thing" or follow some kind of rulebook. But when you come to the mat as a teacher or practitioner, truth should be your guide.
When I started teaching yoga more than 12 years ago, I tried to fit in a box. I wore all organic clothes, I played yogic chanting music, I wore patchouli, and I had a singsongy voice. No one came to my class. I would have one or two students, and no connection to those students at all. I couldn’t connect because I wasn’t me in that room. I was someone else. I was being the person I thought I had to be.
I then realized that to be free, happy, and joyful, I had to be me. It took a lot of confidence and surrendering (and personal and emotional work) to step in front of a room as me. What if no one comes when you're being yourself? What if students don’t like me?
I did it anyways. I wore my bright pink clothes, played Top 40 music, told stories about my life that related to yogic lessons, and I took a chance. My classes started filling up. I made more money. I didn’t have to pretend, and it was actually easier to just be myself.
Sure, not everyone will like me (or you), and I will inevitably get hurt or even hurt someone else. But in the end, to live an authentic, satisfying life you need to be yourself.
I use a truth checklist often, to keep tabs on how true I'm staying to myself:
1. Am I speaking from the heart?
2. Have I done the work of clearing mind from baggage?
3. Do I have an agenda?
4. Can I be myself, no matter who is in the room?
5. Am I still a student and open to learning?
Acknowledge the power of authenticity. You were meant to be you! Be bold in that choice and make no apologies. Be prepared to inspire some and struggle to stay strong too. In the end, truth and authenticity attracts people toward you. Be you. Always.