Thursday, 15 March 2012

To teach or not to teach: the dilemma of a yoga teacher

*possibly my most serious blog to date*

I confess, I'm a big fan of yoga. (Duh!) Not only the physical aspect but also the philosophical spiritual mythology stuff.

I took my very first immersion without even knowing what it was. It was taught by two of my favourite teachers, Captain Kirk and Wonderjordan. They came here to teach a weekend workshop and an immersion, even though that almost didn't happen because of an asshole in our local yoga community. That's also the reason why I chose to take the immersion, just to show that asshole A) she's an asshole, B) we don't need her for the community to exist and grow. In case you don't know, there are a lot of assholes out there, even in the yoga community.

At that time I had no desire to ever become a yoga teacher. In fact, yoga is my means to get as far away from work as possible. But that immersion gave me the first real taste of all eight limbs of yoga, not just asanas. The group in the immersion was small, but it also felt very intimate and it allowed us more space to play and learn.

The rest is history.

But all good things come to an end. The Divine Miss N's studio closed in 2009, the same year when I was publicly humiliated by The Man. All of a sudden "teaching yoga" wasn't that simple any more. By then I've already met quite a number of teachers of various caliber, and experienced episodes of yoga drama. Looking back now, I realize being a yoga teacher does not negate one's disposition of being an abusive, self-serving, pretentious and arrogant asshole. You can have a mind-blowing asana practice and be super well-versed in all the history and philosophy stuff, but still are an abusive, self-serving, pretentious and arrogant asshole, teacher or otherwise.

Taking yoga classes doesn't make you superior to those who don't. And practicing yoga definitely is a lot more than working out. Really, look at the eight limbs of yoga derived from the Patanjali Sutras, asana isn't even the first.

If you are still reading, you are probably wondering, what the fuck is with the rant?

I was recently asked to do a little show-n-tell on yoga at work. I consciously chose to do an overview on history, philosophy, a little bit of anatomy and not just yoga poses. I even included a small section on how to choose a teacher. A couple of people rolled their eyes when I talked about the premise of the Gita. When I showed a few stretches that could help ease tension in the back, one bitch said "that's it for yoga?".

And you can imagine, I was pissed at that dumbass comment. But then I realized, these assholes weren't there to learn about yoga, they just wanted me to show them crazy poses and that's what they perceive as yoga. Better yet, a local teacher, who teaches the actual classes in our office, found out about the one-time only show-n-tell and sent me this message:

"I heard today you are teaching yoga at work - I'm going to be honest, my first thought was WTF? second thought- why didn't I hear about this from you?"

In all fairness, she has the rights to know and I don't blame her for questioning. I mean, if a prominent, supposed yoga spiritual leader guru can turn out to be such a womanizing scumbag, who can you trust these days?

These all add to my doubt about my dharma as a yoga teacher.

For the record, I do not doubt my ability to teach a kick-ass yoga class at all, especially now that I am unofficially free from the dogmatic, though very effective, framework.

I found out today that some celebrity yoga teacher approached the Greek community... pardon me, the personal assistant of the celebrity yoga teacher approached them to host workshops, demanding a minimum financial return of 8000 Euro. We all know the current economy in Greece isn't exactly stellar at the moment. Such greed and selfishness is just wrong, so so so fucking wrong.

Although there are a lot of great teachers with integrity and amazing skills, then there are... what did I call them? Oh yeah... abusive, self-serving, pretentious and arrogant assholes, and may I add greedy womanizing scumbags. I mean, when people find out that I (used to) teach yoga, what do they think of me? Someone who wants to help others find their own strengths, or some manipulative pervert who tries to rake in the big bucks since yoga is trendy?

At the moment, my path remains unclear, so I choose to detach for the time being. Hopefully after the yoga trip next week in San Marcos, Texas, which I am very excited about, will provide me with some clarity.


  1. Hey,
    I have never been to your class but I am sure you are a great teacher. Your honestly speaks volumes. I want a teacher to speak the truth and walk the talk. I don't doubt that you do that.
    We cannot allow ourselves to be coloured by, what did you call them...womanizing scumbags! You, my friend, are so much better than that.

  2. Amen!

    Ps - I hope the self aggrandizing priestess' days of €8,000 billing are over.