Yoga Teachers Are People Too

Why is a life coach teaching to a room full of yoga teachers? Because yoga teachers are people, just like everyone else. While there's nothing more beautiful than people working on themselves, no amount of crossing your limbs and opening your heart will work if you can’t have a conversation with your mother!

The more you investigate, the more you’ll find that almost everyone has something that they want -- or need -- to deal with in life. It’s part of the experience of being human. No one is exempt. Every life contains elements that are emotional, things that are dark and frightening, things related to family history, and to negative, inherited personality traits.

Most people, even yogis, don’t know how to deal with those kinds of challenges. Taking a yoga class when you need to be dealing may offer solace but not necessarily lasting peace of mind. That’s why Elena Brower, an established spiritual teacher, invited me to her studio, Virayoga, to teach her community of yoga teachers.

Yoga definitely helps people to pause, and to breathe, but how calm can you really be if your relationship with your boyfriend is a mess? Yoga is healing, but if you never learn how to communicate, and deal, then no amount of practice will heal you.

People are turning to yoga for wisdom where they have historically turned to religion. They go to yoga class on Saturday, or Sunday, mornings instead of to temple, or church. They look to their yoga teacher for leadership. The yoga traditions hold great wisdom, but the step-by-step process required to actually put that wisdom into action may get lost in translation.

The class I’m teaching for yoga teachers (based on the Handel Method®) is all about that step-by-step process. It’s about facing yourself, dealing, and ultimately genuinely knowing yourself--on the mat, off the mat, and in every walk of life. Yogis are incredible candidates for this kind of work because they are seekers.

Too often, people are afraid to go to the places that feel dark, dangerous or vulnerable. That unwillingness, however, has a price. Avoid those dark places, and you will feel powerless, and shut down.

Avoiding vulnerability, not having important conversations, and not facing the truth doesn’t feel good. Not walking your talk doesn’t feel good. What nags at you? Do you smoke? Drink too much? Have infidelities -- present or past -- that haunt you?

Everyone struggles with something, but few have the wherewithal to face their demons head-on. I promise you -- yoga teachers struggle with the exact same issues that you do. These teachers are not feeling proud of themselves in some areas of life, and some areas are worse than others.

Here are some issues I’ve repeatedly seen in my work with the yoga community:

  • Food and exercise not being up to par
  • Reluctance to speak the truth for fear of hurt feelings
  • Vices -- such as smoking, drinking and junk food—that leave the teacher feeling disappointed in herself/himself.

These teachers are in pain. That pain is exacerbated by the hypocrisy they feel every time they stand up in front of a classroom of people who look to them for leadership. Who helps these teachers become true to themselves?

This is not about morality. It’s not about being right or wrong, or good or bad. To be an effective leader you have to be proud of yourself, and that means living up to your ideals. The work of the Handel Method® makes you face those places in your life where you are out of alignment with your ideals -- starting today.

How do you face your life right now? I guarantee that there really is a list of things that make you happy, and proud of yourself--and a list of things that don’t. For example:

I’m proud of myself every time I:

  • Really speak the truth
  • Keep my word to do cardio 4 days a week
  • Honor my commitment to wake up early and get working on my dream
  • Take care of myself by eating healthy and clean

I’m not proud of myself every time I:

  • Fudge the truth
  • Use my busy schedule as an excuse to not move my body
  • Turn the alarm off, and roll over, instead of pursuing my dream
  • Reach for that cookie

I guarantee that you have similar lists of your own. Now, please face up to the fact that, unless you deal with them, you’re never going to feel good about those items down on your second list. Instead, you will feel weak and disempowered. The good news is that every time you move something from that bottom list up to your top list, you’ll feel happy, and proud.

This is just a rule of life, something I am showing you -- not something I invented.

When you speak up, and say you’re going to do something, and then you do it, you have what we call Personal Integrity® -- you’re a force to be reckoned with; when you don’t -- you’re just believing your excuses. I help people become the force they really want to be in the world. That makes me proud and happy.

Now that you know what you’re up against in your own leadership, what are you going to do about it? If you want to surround yourself with people who are committed to doing the work required to feel happy, and proud, then check out The Handel Group™ or one of our introductory Teleseminars, like ‘Dive into the Promise of You’ on May 3 led by the President of Handel Group™ Life Coaching, Laurie Gerber and special guest Bernadette Birney, Certified Anusara® Yoga teacher.

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Lauren Handel Zander
Lauren Handel Zander
Lauren Handel Zander is the co-founder and chairwoman of Handel Group, an international corporate...
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