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Becoming Your Own Guru

In the midst of redesigning my website (the one you're reading now, or it could just be me hangin' out alone in outer space, all G), I found myself overcome with a strange combination of excitement and angst - strange because, to be honest; mostly angst. I had just qualified as a Yoga Teacher in the middle of a pandemic - after a year of delaying my travels to earn my qualification. As significant a milestone that should have been to me, I was unexpectedly met with dread about 'putting myself out there' to begin the next chapter.

Throughout the last 14 months of training, all I had heard from friends in the yoga world is that "You have to dive right in, or you'll never do it! Feel the fear and do it anyway!" and this had always been my intention...

Enter: Covid.

Initially, I was planning to stall teaching until it became clear that our little viral friend and the restrictions it brought weren't hurrying away. Thus, I started to feel anxious about the fact I didn't 'dive right in' as per everybody's advice to me.

Suddenly, I found myself under a blanket of self induced pressure, trying to obtain normalcy in a world that's anything but. I hadn't taught a class in months and my confidence began to dwindle, subsequently leading me to question teaching at all (and, right on cue) life in general. Everything else I 'worked for' had unfolded so organically that it felt natural for doubts to arise. But, I knew that I had to start somewhere - and small - so, eventually entrusted my best friend and yogi enthusiast to allow me teach her some free classes to get into the swing of things. Hearing her giggles at the other side of the screen definitely eased my nerves, and as satisfactory it felt to complete our class together with positive feedback, I couldn't help but continue feeling drowned by an undeniable wave of overwhelm. This wasn't ordinary 'new beginning' jitters, but rather as though things were happening at a faster rate than I had the time and space to process or digest - my pursuits now stemming from a place of fear, rather than love.

Enter: Rabbit Hole.

I then landed abruptly in an inner comparative with my classmates who, some of which, had been teaching for weeks already. I found myself caught in ruminations between justification and judgement to both myself and others. It didn't take long before I was struck with a general feeling of disconnect from myself entirely.

The real disappointment stemmed from the fact I had almost felt like a Yoga Teacher before even completing training. I had been working in, and behind the scenes of, the yoga industry since 2018. More of my friends, at this point, are actually yoga teachers than otherwise!

Yoga became the self healing medicine that I have been prescriptively taking as I went along my day-to-day rituals and routines for the past several years. Not to imply I've been religiously bending into a pretzel, but rather, like a sponge, absorbing the timeless magic found in sacred teachings, ayurvedic healing, the chakra system and all of the other majesty that yoga philosophy continues to enrich my life with. Yoga, quietly, saved my life in the background - through people met, lessons learned and experiences lived. It has been the catalyst for my own growth, healing and self expansion. In this sense, I had probably already taught many people along my path, consciously or otherwise. You could say that, for the last number of years, I have been living in a giant yoga bubble!

So, no wonder the anticlimax felt so personal.

Enter: Big Juicy Slap of Reality.

But in perfect timing, another friend (also a teacher, surprise!) reflected back that we are often so busy jumping from one thing to the next that we miss out on the present moment entirely. This is where we find our answers. This is where we know our truth. I hadn't taken a moment to acknowledge the completion of my personal milestone and instead became momentarily caught up in the warped societal idea of hurrying, climbing, tirelessly 'doing'.

How was I ever going to become the 'perfect yoga teacher' I had intended to be if I had already put myself under the massive pressure to be that in the first place? A contradiction, surely.

No matter how many times we remind ourselves, it's so easily forgotten that there is no destination. If this global situation has taught us anything it's that our lives are about the everyday; little moments, gentle flutters, involuntary smiles. In a typical yoga class, you learn the art of becoming present within the confines of your body, within each passing moment, each space, each breath... but the beauty of yoga is that it's teachings are not confined to the mat beneath your feet, and that is why I connect with it so very deeply.

That's when it hit me: I had been afraid to publish my website as a 'Yoga Teacher' without classes, but I am a Teacher in the true sense of the word. Honestly, once safe, I don't really care what your downward dog looks like. I don't really care whether your foot can fit behind your ear or up your nose. I care what your heart feels like, where your head is at. This is my yoga.

I had been so caught up in 'teaching' that I actually missed learning my own lesson. I had always wished to teach, one day, with integrity, honesty and vulnerability. I now realise that I could never be the teacher I truly aspired to without honouring the depth of my own truth in this moment.

We may listen to others guidance, but ultimately yoga has taught me that "You are your own Guru". Being your own Guru doesn't mean undermining others, but rather trusting your own journey - and heart - to lead the way. Honouring our individual experiences and listening to that inner voice (no matter how quiet) is to tap into that innate, cosmic wisdom that we all carry within. That to me, my friends, is what yoga really teaches. Beautiful, yes?

Right now my body, mind and soul are conjunctively guiding a loosening of the grip, a letting go of expectations and a trusting of the journey to unfold in it's own natural way. This world can be way too busy at times - so noisy, hectic and loud. The very least we can do for ourselves is to listen to that little voice within. Whether a whisper, cry or the most gentle nudge, each message calls for our undivided attention. Sooner or later, we learn that all we had to do, all that we ever can do, and all that we will ever need to do is sit back and listen.

Sometimes, we don't need a 'how or even a 'what', but simply a 'why'. I believe that in following our 'why', we unveil the nature & the beauty of our real calling; that glimmer of light within that mysteriously flickers brighter with each gentle step. Expressing these words felt really organic to me. So, I guess that no matter how the journey unfolds, this must be a good place to start.

Thanks for reading x


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