‘The students seemed to go through a similar cycle of falling in love with yoga, attending almost every day then gradually losing some interest. They disappeared for a while, then showed up again as their bodies started to cry out for it. I didn’t feel alone in my pattern but I did doubt myself – was it my fault they came and went? Could I make it more entertaining by having them spin on their heads?
I felt confused! Why should I do poses that could hurt me – wasn’t yoga supposed to heal?
One of my teachers assured me: teach from an authentic place. I felt like there was so much to learn still, I was just a student myself, how could I be a guru? What an idiot for even thinking like that! I felt like I was standing at the bottom of the mountain looking up trying to work out which path I was going to climb, terrified of making the wrong decision. I felt like I was back at square one but that’s because I was judging my own journey. It was ok to cycle through self-doubt as long as I got a fresh grip on my creative juices again.
The final stage I hit was self-practice. Yoga is meant to help us re-establish self-love and possibly gain freedom from depression. Depression is often referred to as the separation from the self. Yoga means union. Self-acceptance isn’t just automatic just because the teacher says so. It doesn’t happen just because you repeat affirmations. It happens over time; through the healthy relationship you are developing with your body.
I found self-practice key for this. I got creative and made each Yoga practice take on a simple healing thread. One practice might be about forgiveness, optimism or a word like Tapas (fire). A gentle inspiration to stay in that empty space worked for me. To start, I had to blindfold myself otherwise my mind would wander to dust on the floor. You get to know your mind.
After teaching for twenty years, I’ve had some ups and downs with it. I’ve had months of no self-practice. I occasionally got burnt out from too much teaching. I went off and trained as a Pilates teacher for two years so I could understand the spine.
Yoga could suit all people, those in pain and even the laziest. Yoga adapts. This isn’t the perception in media. The models and dancers strike intimidating poses. The message suggests: you will never achieve this but you can die trying.
It’s not scary but it does depend on the teacher, their training, goal and even their ego. There is a teacher out there for you and you can always find out a lot of emailing or reading their website, Generally Hatha yoga or Yin Yoga is a good start, if you have a bad back or serious knee pain then you will probably enjoy Chair Yoga.
I am now 47 and my body is really changing. I will continue to change and I’ll adapt the yoga for students and myself. I bet in 20 years I’ll be teaching just Chair Yoga and meditation. We’ll see…’
If you have any questions for Jen then please don’t hesitate to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org