Michelle S. Writes in: “Hi Julian, I did my teacher training 3 years ago, but have only taught a handful of classes. The training I got prepared me really well to be a great teacher, but I am still not over the hump of feeling like a know what I am doing.
Part of the problem is that I admire my teachers so much I don’t feel I can be on that level. I have not found my unique voice as a teacher yet and I know the only way to do is by teaching more often and learning to quiet the inner critic…”
Michelle, I definitely hear you on this. Thanks so much for sharing such a vulnerable truth. I think this is an experience that many new teachers have in common.
Let’s face it: we idealize our teachers.
We see them as such amazing examples of what we aspire to be, and this is part of why we take teacher training, right? We aspire to be like them in certain ways, but often this is combined with also feeling unworthy.
One way to understand this is the idea that we compare our insides to other people’s outsides.
Do you know what I mean? We compare what we see of them from the outside, how they present themselves, how they act and how their image comes across, with how we feel on the inside, our emotions, vulnerabilities, and self-critical thoughts.
When we do this (and believe me, I think we all do it a lot!), we trick ourselves into forgetting that the person whose outside we are idealizing has an inner life just like us —they have insecurities and self-doubt, they have their own difficult emotions, fears and vulnerabilities, we just don’t know what they are!
Every teacher you look up to was once a beginner, they were once a pimply teenager (like I was), they were once unsure if anyone cared what they had to say, if yoga students would find them a believable teacher, if they were good enough.
My point is that this fear of unworthiness does not make you a freak, it does not disqualify you from pursuing the desire to teach yoga. It is part of the journey for everyone in some way!
Let me say that again: it is part of the journey for everyone.
Take the awareness you have of this issue as an opportunity to grow, to heal, to really deepen your yoga practice. Do some inner work with it: meditate, journal, cry, breathe, trace it to it’s roots, demand that it set you free.
Free to be a real human being who has vulnerabilities, who also wants to teach yoga. Free to recognize that the more you become skillful, compassionate and can stay present with your own normal human fear and pain, the more you can guide others to be real and open on their yoga mats in your presence.
Free to recognize the truth that your teachers have also had to do their own version of this inner work.
To me, this is key piece of the graduate course!
Please share any thoughts or feelings you have in the comments section below.