Whybe a Yogi - You Are A Contribution
My personal yoga teacher training experience (my entire yoga journey thus far, for that matter) was so impactful for me that I wanted more than anything to be able to give back to the program by assisting in future yoga teacher training classes.
Still, that inner critic kept me locked in fear and hesitation:
you aren’t good enough; you have nothing to contribute; you aren’t qualified; you are nothing compared to these amazing teachers who are leading the program!
Before I started my teacher training, I thought I was just going to learn how to say poses in a fancy order. What I got was so much more. In addition to learning how to properly sequence a yoga class, I also found my voice, gained confidence in speaking in front of people (which was previously my WORST fear), discovered the act of truly listening to my body’s signals, created lifelong friendships, realized I do have a creative part in me, navigated through intense and raw self-inquiry, and revealed to myself that I am more powerful, physically and mentally, than I ever thought possible. The result of all that hard work was a new-found confidence to leave my comfort zone and try new things.
From the time I was a student in the training program during the summer of 2016, I knew that once I became a certified teacher, I wanted to take part in supporting the future yoga teacher trainees in any way that I could. One of the main reasons I wanted to be an assistant was because of how much I personally got out of this program; I wanted to give back! I wanted every trainee to experience all the things that I did and I wanted to be a part of making that happen. But sure enough, there it was – that inner critic telling me that I’m not qualified or good enough to make a positive impact.
I’m my own worst enemy and hardest critic.
The biggest roadblock I’ve had
as a yoga teacheris the voice that says I’m not enough, that I need to always be more and do more.
Nonetheless, I signed up to be an assistant. I didn’t know how I was going to give back, but I was at least willing to participate and try. To be honest, at first, I felt out of place. I hesitated sharing or contributing for I feared I wasn’t going to be helpful, as if I wasn’t qualified to give advice.
Since September 2017, I have spent almost every Saturday and Sunday immersed in content alongside the trainees. Whether it was running to get water for them, calling a student to make sure they got to the studio on time, a quick hug, or simply greeting them with a smile as they walked in, exhausted from the training session the day before, every day I connected with the trainees by being their friend first – simply by showing up as myself and creating a safe space for them to be fully themselves. Also, by showing up every weekend and doing the “obvious” things (setting up the room, cleaning up the space, getting water and food for the teachers, etc.), I helped cultivate an ease-filled space for the facilitators to focus more intently on the participants.
These actions are things I thought were obvious – things that were expected and the bare minimum. Maybe so, but what I discovered was that this was one way I could contribute, and that contribution matters. I realized that every teacher and assistant I had during my teacher training impacted me by being herself/himself. They did what was necessary to keep the program running smoothly, while connecting with us as human beings – always greeting us with a smile, asking us how we were doing, and making sure we had everything we needed for the sessions.
The students just graduated this past weekend, and it’s funny looking back now to think that going in, I wasn’t confident that I could directly or indirectly have any impact on their experience. The only thing I had to do in order to make an impact was to be myself. As the weeks went by and I continued to connect with one student here and there, I realized that before, I had been putting too much pressure on myself, and simply trying too hard to be something I wasn’t.
I think previously, when I was putting so much pressure on myself, my view of “making an impact” was too broad – I was looking at the yoga teacher trainees as one big lump of 34 people – a big group, rather than 34 individual students to whom I could contribute if I just connected with them one on one.
I can distinctly remember
when this concept clicked for me
We were sharing our experiences around what opened up for us from the morning meditation, and I got to step in as someone’s partner. We both had the opportunity to vulnerably share, generously listen, and be fully seen and recognized. There was no rush to finish, no expectation to say a certain thing. Human to human, we were sharing from our hearts. Afterwards, we hugged, and she thanked me for listening with such attentiveness and love, which allowed her to share parts of herself she had never felt safe to share with anyone else before. Again, what I thought was an obvious way of being (aka simply being myself), created the foundation for a beautiful connection and friendship we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience.
What I concluded is that it’s so much easier to just be myself. I don’t have to try to be anyone else because the world needs me.
The world needs YOU, too!
Where in your life can you let go of expectations of how you should be, and show up as you already are?
How can you bring ease to your life by simply being yourself?
Where in your life are you already being a contribution that you previously didn’t see?
Who can you acknowledge for being a contribution to your life that maybe they don’t see?