I'm A Yogi (Sometimes I Feel Like A Fraud)
I once read in Deborah Adele’s book, Yama and Niyama, that she had a friend who said her greatest fear was ending up in a room with everyone she knew and not knowing who to be. I so often feel like I can relate.
I’ve owned a yoga studio and have been teaching yoga full time for 14 years, yet I’m married to a man who’s never stepped foot in a yoga studio except to make repairs. I don’t have an alter in my house, but I do have a TV, and I've used it to watch The Bachelor! Sometimes this life makes my yoga life seem miles away, possibly even belonging to someone else. In these moments I feel like a total fraud.
But also, my daughter spends every single night listening to a guided yoga nidra meditation for kids before bed. When things get tense, we both calm ourselves with deep breathing, and I try all the time to have an open mind, an open heart, and to be present with her. My yoga mat lives behind the couch in the living room, and I unroll it regularly in front of the fireplace or by the sliding glass door in my bedroom. I sit almost daily for meditation in my car. There are times when every ordinary, mundane thing feels sacred. That’s when yoga seems to be the backdrop for everything I do.
Vacillating back and forth between a life where I worry I’m an imposter for teaching yoga because it feels so distant, and a life where I realize it’s all yoga and that distance isn’t possible, is sometimes confusing. But I find it to be a beautiful part of going deeper.
Despite having felt like a phony as a teacher when I couldn’t live up to my own ideas of what a yogi should be — making me a failure, a hypocrite, or a fraud — this experience, over time, has led me to a freedom that has been instrumental in my ability to support others in finding their own freedom.
I realize now the importance of seeing my own humanness and the humanness of others.
Being human means I'll sometimes fail, I'll sometimes react, I'll sometimes disconnect, disengage, get defensive, get angry, hurt, self-righteous, self-centered and narrow-minded… yes, even as a yoga teacher! Opening to the possibility that I am imperfectly perfect allows me to soften, to feel lighter, to forgive myself and others when I stumble.
If you meet yourself where you are, you’ll be able to meet others (your students, your family and your friends) where they are too. That is a beautiful and deeply honest gift.
I also believe that we all do the best we can in every moment whether we know it or not, and whether others believe it or not. I think if we had the capacity to do better, we would. In time, we will.
If you can relate, and you worry about being a fraud, consider that you are not. You are you, doing the best you can to be who you want yourself and the world to be. Thank you for that!