I don’t even like teaching anymore. I hate yoga.
It’s a slippery slope when emotions are involved and feelings about yoga are no different. Just in the previous post I declared that I am in it, teaching yoga for the long haul and that I’m paving a new path to becoming a student again and getting back to the heart of why I love yoga but I found myself in a deep sea of emotion the other night and spitting out these words, “I don’t even like teaching anymore. I hate yoga.” Yes those words actually came out of my mouth. (Hmm I need to write a book titled I Hate Yoga… oh wait, someone beat me to it. I might even read it, I Hate Yoga and Why You’ll Hate to Love It Too, by Paul McQuillan.) My poor hubby… he just wanted to sleep but had to listen to all this nonsense. He said, “You don’t hate yoga. You just hate that you can’t practice the way you used to.” To that I insisted, “Yes I do! I hate it. I hate that my body hurts and that I still have to be this flexy, bendy, balanced teacher. I hate that I have to go to class and put on a happy face. I hate getting on my mat because it hurts and I hate that I can’t move the way I used to.” He said, “See, you don’t hate yoga and who said you have to put on a happy face? You of all people know that.” Argh!! I hate it when he’s right and even hate it more cause he fell asleep and gave me no further audience for my woes.
A déjà vu moment…
So I lay there in the dark. My mind
swimming drowning in it’s own thoughts. I knew I needed to stop the whining if I was gonna get any sleep. How could I possibly hate yoga. I poured all I had into it. The chunk of financial investment. The sacrifices I had to make. The time spent. Ugh!! Suddenly, I remembered this feeling all too well again when I decided to not go back to my high tech career. I swam in the same thoughts. How could I possibly hate high tech when that’s what I spent my time, money, and effort in getting a degree in? It’s too much deja vu. 10 years in high teach and 10 years in yoga and here I am faced with the same emotions as if I needed to decide what the next 10 years are going to be right now. The instant before another storm of thoughts flooded my mind, I reflected on what it was like when I first started yoga.
In the beginning…
It was rough. I actually really hated it. It was painful. Downdog was my worst enemy. With carpel tunnel, stiff neck, stiff back, and poor breathing habits, yoga was not fun. Let’s rephrase that. It was not fun in the thick of it, in the middle of it, while experiencing it in the moment. The feeling after the class was a different story… and it wasn’t a feeling of relief because the torture was over. Let’s call it the yoga bliss… indescribable, addicting, euphoric, absolute peace kinda emotion. Just remembering the first time I felt this yoga bliss, saved me from fist fighting the monkey in my mind.
In the middle of it….
Ok so we all know that change is inevitable. I wondered what changed for me? In the early years and even up to a month ago, yoga was everything and everything was yoga. I learned so much as a student and as a teacher. Teaching yoga taught me so many things… how to overcome obstacles in my life, taught me patience, commitment, discipline, connection, and what exactly being present is all about. Teaching yoga taught me how to face my fears and how to take action. It taught me about deep self loving love. In the midst of all this, it made me vulnerable. Ahhh there it is. This is what changed me.
Thru to the end of it….
Just like a good vigorous vinyasa flow class builds tapas, a fire that burns away tensions and impurities, teaching such a class is no different. I think this is where I am at. It’s taken this long to reach this point. There’s a big wall in front of me. A brick of tension. It’s all waiting to be torn down. Beneath it all is a soft spot, a space of vulnerability… bigger than I’ve seen before. All these years of practicing and teaching has been slowly chipping away all the tensions of hurt, desire, regret, fears, anxiety, anger, pain, and sorrow. I really feel like what we yoga teachers often say, “everything that happened to you in your life happened to bring you to this moment.” At that moment, I admitted I “almost” succumbed to this
minor attack of self-doubt. This vulnerable space… I’ve seen it before and no matter how big it is, I know I will survive because in this space is the door that opens to surrender. Only in this space can I be available to a guide, a light, a knowing that is beyond myself that will sweep away the emotions of “hate.”
Yes, in it for the long haul…
Teaching yoga has made me a better person. Even though I have struggled through many challenges in my body, in my practice and also in my teaching, yoga has and continues to demand that I stay engaged in continuous practice and self-study and that I live with as much patience, integrity, compassion, love and forgiveness as I can muster. Perhaps this is the reason why I “hate” it so much. I feel like a teenager “hating” my parents. However I truly believe this feeling of “hate” is really just doubts, fears, and challenges that I created in my own mind. I know I will overcome them. I know that I am not alone in this and hope that my struggles will meet your struggles on the mat one day. I think they will love each other’s company.
Yoga, I still love you… thank you for coming along on my emotional roller coaster with me.