Most of us go to a yoga class (or practice at home) because we want to make a positive change in our lives. However, there are a number of very pervasive and extremely toxic myths about yoga that can really impact your experience of it.
This is one in a series of posts covering the most toxic myths, and how they might impact you. If you notice any of these cropping up – on or off the mat – consciously notice the thought process, and give yourself permission to release them from your experience of yoga!
Toxic Myth #2 – Yoga teachers have their sh*t together!
OK, I know, you are not going to believe me. Y’all think that yoga teachers are a magical breed of unicorn, floating on air and sprinkling the world with fairy dust. Right?
Well, I am sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s simply not the case.
I remember when I was training to be a yoga teacher, and one of my teachers tried to get us to believe this. We were having none of it. After all, he was a yoga teacher! Not only that, he was married to our meditation teacher, and his kids both do yoga. His life must be amazing, no two ways about it.
He tried to get us to believe that he also had to pay the electricity bill (not always easy on a yoga teacher’s salary), and that his kids drove him crazy sometimes too, and that (shock-horror) he also suffered from road rage every now and again.
Well, I simply couldn’t accept this. Until I graduated my course and started teaching. Initially, I felt like a fraud: “Here I am teaching yoga, but I’m still getting cranky with my husband. What’s wrong with me?”.
Eventually, my wise teacher’s words came back to me. Yoga teachers are human too. Yoga teachers have to navigate the world, just like anyone else. Yoga teachers sometimes mess up. Argh, it’s not fair! Where is my magical unicorn and jar of fairy dust?!
This myth seems super-toxic to me, because I know that a lot of people really put yoga teachers on a pedestal, which only leads to comparisons, like “I wish I was like her” or “Wow, I’d love my life to be like that”, or worse “I’ll never be as good as that”.
When, really, there’s no yoga teacher in the world who is better than anyone else. We are all fabulous individuals. I am not better than you. I am far from perfect. I am living my life in the best way I can manage in each moment.
Sometimes I mess up. Sometimes life gets too much for me. Sometimes I want to hide in my room with a cup of tea and a book and never come out.
The difference is that I have the tools available to me that help me navigate these difficult situations. Tools that help to calm me when I feel stressed. Tools that help me just feel a little better each time something doesn’t go quite right or I don’t have my sh*t together.
And these tools aren’t just available to yoga teachers. They are there for you too. With some a little knowledge and practice, and a bunch of self-compassion, you can access these tools as well.
Next time you’re in a yoga class, take another look at the teacher and remind yourself that she doesn’t have her sh*t together any more than you do. We are all in this together, muddling through as best we can. Give her a smile, and one for yourself too.