Ohhhh this blog is going to be a doozy but you know that I love writing about controversial topics because that is what you love to read! One of our guilty pleasures is being able to relate to another person’s dirty dark shadow so we don’t feel so lonely in our quest for change or staying comfortably in the dark. And that is the intention of this blog. The title means nothing, it is just to grab your attention and it worked!
SHIT. MUST. CHANGE! Turn on the light!
Are you living in balance? Are you doing your best? Can you do better?
After I did my yoga teacher training in 2010 my life changed. From this point, life was no longer as I knew it. I had to work on changing old habits and patterns. Yes, I had to do the dirty work, I’m still doing it and isn’t easy! I could not go back into the world and live the same way physically and consciously after an involution like that had taken place. I was awake. I was alive. I was present. I had all the tools I needed. I was ready to do shit!
I will admit, each new step taken since has not been an act of skipping down the yellow brick road under a blue sky with a shit eating grin totally oblivious. I have been driving dusty dirt roads in an undeveloped country in a beat up truck without a road map or a sign to point me in the right direction and when I’ve gotten lost I stopped to ask for directions, totally lost in translation! Unfortunately life does not come with a GPS with an automated voice in your first language to say, “Hey loser, you’ve did it again, you’re lost, you’ve gone the wrong way!”
I recently attended my second Yoga Teacher Training, don’t ask why I would torture myself again because doing my Yoga Teacher Training the first time around broke me wide open physically, emotionally and mentally but then like a Phoenix I came soaring out of the ashes with courage ready to create a new life and that is what I did. Because the most valuable lesson that I have learned in life to date is that difficult times help us grow and the only thing we need to know is the answer to this question, “what is the lesson my soul is trying to learn?”
So, I thought doing the training twice, essentially, being broken open a second time would only be an even greater transformation. I was ready, bring it! WHOMP. Not the case. I quickly found out not all Yoga Teacher Trainings are created equally. Surfers in the lineup had heard the tales and asked me each time I paddled out when the next Yoga party was. This snapped me back to reality and I thought, SHIT, something must change! Yes, I had time to surf and this is where I would escape. My priority at this training became learning to surf and spending time in the ocean because I knew the lesson my soul needed to learn at this point in my life would be best learned from Mother Nature herself. “What lesson does my soul need to learn from this?” I needed to learn that we have a responsibility as teachers and not turning a blind eye or feeling guilty for speaking the truth is necessary!!!! The ocean taught me that change is inevitable. Change is the only constant that exists in this world. Water cannot be stopped because when it runs into an obstacle, it just goes around it with courage flowing and nurturing constantly.
Now, what we do in our own time is no ones business, right? Right! But I’m here today, not to reveal all the dirty dark secrets that happened at this training, or to tattle tale on myself or all the other naughty yoga teachers out there but to just openly say it and to serve as a reminder of some necessary changes needed within the Yoga Industry. Look in the mirror, look at each other. I'm doing this too! THINGS MUST CHANGE! We must change! Mother Nature told me to share her wisdom and so I’m her voice today. “Change is good. Change is constant." If you struggle against change like fighting against a breaking wave in the ocean, you will get hurt. If you go with the flow of nature you are more likely to survive the changes that will happen inevitably. We must learn the lessons our souls need to learn and then make a conscious choice to change.
A Teacher is a Teacher regardless of the material being taught. Students turn to us to learn something. Human nature is judgmental. We have egos. As Yoga Teachers we speak to this. Students are watching us even when we are not in a studio teaching, other Yoga Teachers are watching too! They watch you when you walk down the street thinking you may know more about yoga, life, the universe and the real meaning behind the Bhagavad Gita and probably think your buddy-buddy with Patanjali himself. It doesn’t matter if you are miles away from the studio or your mat, you are still a Teacher in everyday life. We need to take our practice out of the studio and off the mat into our world, our lives should be a mindful moving meditation. Otherwise it’s just smoke and mirrors. It’s like the little guy behind the curtain in the movie Wizard of Oz scaring the crap out of people, instilling unnecessary fear but if you pull the curtain back and reveal what’s really going on here, a poser is revealed. A small bald man with no self-confidence, grace or integrity. Don’t be this guy!
Yes, Yoga Teachers get you to pose but you pose for yourself because no one else is watching in class because students are all focused on themselves. Yoga is hard. No one said it was going to be easy, life isn’t easy, surfing isn’t easy! Yoga is a lifestyle. But yoga helps to make life easier! Yoga is an internal practice to evolve the self and it is a tool to help control the mind not just for the purpose of an hour in a studio but so you can take this out and apply it in your life and the world.
Teachers, no matter what kind (Moms, Dads, Yoga Teachers, University Professors, Kindergarten Teachers, Life Coaches, Counselors, Mentors) are leaders in our society. How do you lead others?
Who do you want to be? What matters most to you? What do you want to teach people? How will you share your light? How will you walk the walk and talk the talk? What do you want to create? How will you love? How will you forgive? How will you teach?
Students of Yoga come to our Yoga class not only because they want a physical practice but once an involution sparks their curiosity it sets them down a path seeking much more. Essentially we teach them Yoga Postures (Asana) on a mat, Meditation, hopefully some Pranayama, some Chanting, throw in a few words related to the History of Yoga to carry on the tradition or to feed our own egos so we sound smart, speak of energy and the Chakras because that shit is super cool but that IS the match that lights the fuse and sets off a bomb in that student's head that starts to disassemble the ego! BOOM!
Yoga Teachers do not just teach Asana on a mat, any monkey can do that! Might as well go to cross-fit! It is the deeper teachings that most students seek out. Students are seeking a leader, a guru, an awake present person that shares light. Or should we just call it Stretching Class? Maybe more guys would come!!! haha. Joke. As Teachers we must embody this responsibility and start walking the walk and talking the talk. We live in a spot light. Be Transparent. Be authentic!
No, personally I’m not perfect, this is also a reminder to myself. Each day I strive to live a simple life by sharing my home and teaching others how to make small changes in all aspects of their life. Sure, I get caught up too but I make small changes day by day. My home is open, come see for yourself. It doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, but always remember, someone is always watching, people are always talking and at the end of the day, we are all connected and this is our opportunity to share our gifts and our light.
We need to teach each other that love is necessary, compassion is necessary, kindness is necessary, forgiveness for each other and ourselves is necessary and after finding our purpose we need to help others find theirs. Give as much as you can. Everyone deserves to be happy! Find your purpose because it is your gift and then it is your responsibility to share it with the world.
Teach from your heart. Learn from your mistakes and teach that to your students too so we can grow ourselves and grow one another. Consciousness. Oneness. We are in this together. We know right from wrong, let’s not complicate things.
Check out Julia McCabe the babe, 300 hr. Training