Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just Show Up.

It's been at least six months since I've attended a yoga class. It is entirely possible that the number is actually higher than six. It has been so long that I've forgotten how long it's been.

And I call myself a yoga teacher.

Actually, I have issues with the term "yoga teacher" as it applies to me. I went through the training, and those I have led in classes seemed to have truly enjoyed my offerings, but the term "teacher" makes me want to shrink back and say "nononononononono".

Many of my yoga friends are confounded by this, and when pressed for an explanation I really can't give one. I am unsure where my hesitation comes from. I guess I don't feel like a teacher. To me, a teacher has been immersed in the subject for many years, has become an expert, someone who has far more knowledge than I could ever hope to have. I still very much feel like a student. Of course, any good teacher will be the first to say that teachers are the eternal student. There is always more to learn.

A couple months ago, I got into a conversation with a belly dancing friend/teacher who no longer dances for a myriad of reasons. Cultural appropriation has been forefront in her thoughts lately, and we were comparing our mutual reticence in regards to teaching. At one point I said "it's not mine to teach." American culture appropriated this practice long before I was even a sparkle in my parent's eyes. So, am I perpetuating the appropriation or am I just passing on something that is now part of our culture? Where do you draw the line? Especially when so many people get so many positive things out of it, me included?

Maybe I'm calling myself the wrong thing. Maybe I don't call myself a teacher. I feel less awkward when I think of classes as something I am offering up. Like the massages I give my clients: I am offering up my practice in the hopes that those seeking it will find something they need. Much like I am a Massage Practitioner, perhaps I should think of myself as a Yoga Practitioner. Sometimes a slight shift in perspective is all you need to see things differently.

Perhaps it is time I found my way back to the practice. Back to the studio - any studio. Hell, even back to the studio that taught me. I will admit to feeling embarrassed and guilty and hesitant to show up after so long an absence. But one of the biggest bits of advice my yoga teachers (and I do honor them as teachers, very much so) ever gave was "just show up."

I think it's time I did that.

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