Some people have the crazy assumption that I have a perfect life. I do have an amazing life, one full of happiness, opportunities, privilege, support groups and lots of love, but many of this doesn’t come easy. I have had my fair share of failures. But I try to take each mistake as a learning opportunity and focus on the positives. What I share on social media tends to be 99% positive (which I have been ridiculed for), but not because I’m lying and hiding a terrible life behind a facade of smiles and filters, but because that is how I choose to shape my life: shitty things happen, I fail often, but I decide to turn 99% of all experiences into positive ones, and share positivity with the world.
I realize that some might think I lack “realness” so here is some vulnerability. Here is a failure that was eating me up inside many months after the situation. I wrote this blog originally in December and decided only now that it felt right to share. I have finally resolved this conflict in my mind and am ready to move forward with it. Many times I don’t share something that is weighing on my not because I am hiding it, but because I’m working on it internally. I’m doing my work. To be a better yoga teacher, to be a better person.
A few months ago, I failed a teacher audition at a yoga studio. I was entirely focused on the challenging sequence I wanted to teach that I became a bad teacher. All I thought about was myself instead of the students in the room. I didn’t adapt to their levels/needs and still feel terrible about it. I was selfish. I did exactly the opposite of what yoga is. Yoga is not about how beautiful my sequences are, or how much my playlist rocks, or about which yoga clothes I wear; yoga is about uniting in love, community and wellness. Yoga is providing a safe space for others to be themselves and let shit go. Yoga is breathing deeply and washing away the conditions that don’t serve you. Yoga is about being a good human inside and outside the yoga room. Yoga is to care.
It took me months to realize all of this. I was still caught up in myself, unable to see the bigger picture. I blamed my failure on others at first. I blamed my poor performance on having to teach very early in the morning (before I am usually even awake) after expressing that I am not an early morning teacher, that my brain isn’t able to function properly at that time of day. I also blamed my failure on the moment five minutes before the audition, when the studio owner told me that she doesn’t like music and that I couldn’t play it for my class. I had spent hours the previous day making the perfect playlist, so this immediately put me off my game. I was already nervous, now I was even more nervous since it’s been years since I taught a class without music PLUS I was still half asleep!
To make things even worse: since I always play music, I don’t wear a watch (I check the time on my iPad instead), so I left my iPad outside the room without realizing before I began to teach. Meaning I had no way to tell what time it was. Class was supposed to be around 45 minutes. I think I only ended up teaching for around 35 minutes, because I was rushing the sequencing so much to make sure I didn’t go over time.
I was a disaster of nerves, talking too fast, talking too much, barely taking a breath myself, and ignoring all the students in the room while only focusing on my performance.
This is NOT how I teach. This is not me. This is NOT yoga.
But that was what they got and I was not hired. It hurt! But I deserved it.
I have come to terms with this selfish performance and understand it was a lesson that my ego truly needed in that moment. I have since been hired by two incredible yoga studios where I feel myself, and more importantly, am able to be true to yoga. I believe that in my regular classes that the students lead the class, not me, as I tune in to their needs and their energy. I seek to humble myself and to provide a positive and safe space for the student to breathe, explore and expand. When the teacher allows the student to be the teacher, that is the moment that makes a good teacher. It’s challenging being a contractor of yoga because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one does. But we teachers must find that delicate line of confidence, not ego. Love yourself but love your students much, much more.
In the end, try your best to be as kind and open as possible, but be ok with failing along the way. Failure is the best way to learn about ourself and the world around us, so accept these as strong teaching moments. Whether you are a yoga teacher or anyone else in the world, failure will make you stronger if you find the positivity within it.