I got certified as a Level 1 Kundalini yoga teacher over ten years ago and can clearly remember the promise I once made:
“I’m doing this for ME, I will NEVER teach!” Boy, was I ever wrong.
After ten years of teaching, I’m now starting the very first Level 1 Teacher Training program in Egypt. So, what happened…?
Well, two kinds of people come to teacher training — those who simply love yoga and want to expand their understanding of the practice, and those who actually know they want to teach and uplift others. Both are totally valid reasons, but as my experience shows, you never really know where teacher training might take you.
Teaching yoga is my greatest passion. Here are my five reasons why it could be yours, too:
1. You will get to witness the growth of your students as they become healthier and happier.
The most wonderful part of teaching is to watch the transformation of my students unfold. Students enter class tired or stressed, weighed down by their responsibilities and to-do lists, and they leave lighter, happier, and visibly more relaxed.
On more of a macro level, the changes that occur over time are profound. Deep shifts in awareness, an awakening of self-love and self-care, leading to healthier diets, letting go of food issues, addictions, getting out of unhealthy relationships, changing a job or path — these are some of the many blessings I receive from my students, and it is the greatest gift I could wish for.
2. Your commitment to your own practice will become stronger.
Being a teacher and regularly holding the space, and being an inspiration to my students puts constant pressure on me to always be working on my own stuff, committing more and more to my own practice, deepening my knowledge and expanding my awareness.
Being a teacher means that I never get to just take it easy and cruise through life. I can't become complacent about where I am and how I am behaving, because being a teacher means leading by example, always. I am constantly striving to be better — a better yogi, a better teacher, but mostly a better human being, and for me that is was life is about. My students inspire me to keep improving myself every single day.
3. You will have a heightened understanding that we are ALL connected.
As well as being a teacher and always striving to be my best, I am human. I get stressed, I make mistakes, and I am often less than my best. In these times I have a tendency to isolate myself, and hide my shame that I’m not perfect. My yoga classes force me out of that dark space and back into the light.
Every time I teach, no matter how low, stressed, sad, and upset I'm feeling when I enter the room, I leave feeling uplifted and reenergized. The essence of teaching fills me with love. Teaching reconnects me to the world and the wonderful people around me. Teaching reaffirms my joy for life every single time.
4. You will discover that yoga is a lifelong learning process.
I have always been hungry for knowledge, moving from one career to another and always wanting to know more. Kundalini is the path that gives me both the impetus and the means to continue learning.
I am about to complete the Kundalini Level 2 Teacher Training with modules in vitality and stress, conscious communication, authentic relationships, mind and meditation, life-cycles and prosperity, and death. In Kundalini we learn (and teach) about real life and the universal issues we all face, and are guided (sometimes pushed) to confront the ways we can either hold ourselves back or excel in all that we do.
I am also relearning the basic teachings and finding the depth and beauty in them as if for the first time.
I am amazed at what I have learned, and even more amazed at what I still do not yet know. And I have a feeling I will remain hungry for life until my very last breath.
5. If you want to master something, then teach it.
This comes from one of the most famous quotes of Yogi Bhajan, the master of Kundalini:
“If you want to learn something, read about it, if you want to understand something, study it, and if you want to master something, teach it.”
Kundalini Yoga is for me, the key to life. Within its unique kriyas (actions), meditations, and pranayama practices, lie the code to living authentically, to excelling and to getting to the end of the journey satisfied — with no regrets.
When we die, we won’t worry about whether we could perform an asana perfectly. We will wonder whether we lived a life worth living, whether we made every second count, whether we honored and invested in our most precious relationships, and whether we felt we contributed in a meaningful and lasting way.
This is what teaching Kundalini yoga gives me — the means, motivation and mastery to live the best life I possibly can.
Photo Credit: Robert Randall Productions