One of the questions and worries that I end up dealing with from both our own students as well as other yoga teachers is 'What do I actually have to offer the world as a yoga teacher?'
Although it seems like a moment of anxiety it's actually a really important question and if you haven't ever asked yourself this then you probably should. Of course I can't answer that question for anyone, although I genuinely believe that every single person has something amazing to offer, even if it turns out to be exactly what one person needs at one specific point in their life.
The question that we are asking is really 'What do i have to offer the world as a human being?'
Of course I ask myself the same question as well. Often!
What do I actually have to offer? Would the world, let along yoga be any worse off if I just disappeared into the greenhouse and talked to my beloved tomatoes forever? Probably not!
I read an interesting post this morning about a yogi who felt that they hadn't really been practising their asana for sometime and I thought to myself 'Well a vast amount of 'traditional' yoga (if there is such a thing) hasn't resonated with me and I've taught it less and less for a few years now-what on Earth does that say about me as a 'yoga' teacher let alone someone that runs a 'teacher training' ?!'
Sometimes it feels that we don't really know why we are doing certain things or why we are not. When this doubt starts to play on my mind I try to remind myself that I don't actually need to know the reason and the chances are that if i think that I do then I'm probably just deceiving myself.
All I really need to do is to trust my gut, be a complete version of myself (not a half arsed copy of someone else)and do what I believe is best at any given moment. To act with spontaneity and honesty is simple.
I was told by a special friend a couple of years ago that I'm a closet Daoist, I didn't even know what that meant at the time! The more and more I explore Taoism the more I understand what she meant. You can't be a Taoist, I'd argue that you can't practice Taoism, its pretty much about trusting to the flow of life, letting go, giving up resistance, effortless effort - Wu Wei.
The only problem that I can see emerges when you aren't being yourself and you then start to act in a forced way in order to either please others (as a teacher or just as a human) or to appease your own fears such as future financial security. If you start to operate from this standpoint you'll find that life enters a loop that can feel like swimming through treacle, everything is a struggle and loses its joy. We aren't acting purely and truly.
It has happened so often to me that I cant doubt it anymore. I have given up more 'secure' jobs than I can remember; let go of projects, even things that I had worked on and built up for years like my installation art company. If I stop loving our Yoga Like Water trainings, then I'll stop them too, without a doubt.
So far nobody has died as a result,the kids haven't starved and I'm still here to tell the tale!
So for what its worth I'd say try to care less as a yoga teacher; stop struggling against the tide, simply be yourself, deliver what you believe in and see where you get swept to - it might be where you least expect and it will certainly be an adventure! You have to trust that you will get taken to exactly where you and the world need you to be. Of course whether you take that step or not is all a matter of trust, if you don't trust then it certainly wont happen.