Walking the Walk

I am a firm believer that a yoga teacher should practice the principles of yoga in all aspects of life rather than just spewing “spiritual” nuggets while teaching an asana class without actually living it. A yoga teacher is meant to carry themselves according to yogic guidelines and use their personal experiences as inspiration while teaching. Whether this means simply coming to the mat and cushion daily for asana and meditation, incorporating pranayam into the day, infusing the home with mantra, spending time each day studying ancient texts, or hopefully all of the above, there is so much that we can (and should!) do to facilitate our own spiritual growth – and it is completely and utterly necessary if we are going to guide others to do the same. So often I see teachers that don’t have a sadhana, or daily spiritual practice, and I see how they struggle to be authentic and powerful. Simply put, we cannot transmit something we haven’t got.

I’ve always been very disciplined in my sadhana, and it was instinctual to me that I needed to be committed to it in order to effectively teach. That said, my sadhana has continually changed over the years. As I work through my own stuff, my needs have changed from my practice. As I’ve learned new methods of practice that are meaningful to me, I’ve incorporated them into my sadhana and let go of ones that I no longer need. We are not stagnant beings; we evolve over time and our daily practice should too. What worked for us yesterday may not be what we need today. It’s not good or bad, it just is.

When I first began my yoga practice, I had a lot of issues to work through from my past. I very quickly realized that asana wasn’t enough for me, and began a mantra and meditation practice in earnest. That road led me back to Kundalini Yoga (which was my gateway into yoga and then quickly set aside), and it was incredibly profound for me. It allowed me to heal myself, gain confidence, let go of old hurts, find my voice and discover my truth. I spent countless hours practicing Kundalini Yoga on my own, in public classes, in women’s retreats, and long weekends away in community. Taking the Kundalini Yoga teacher training was a life-changing experience for me, and I created bonds with my teachers and classmates that I still cherish. I was so excited to bring this practice to our studio, because it meant so much to me personally. It’s such a different type of yoga practice, and I loved sharing it with others and seeing their eyes open to its beauty.

Yet as I continued on my own personal journey, I gradually found myself being called to do Kundalini Yoga in my own sadhana less and less. It simply didn’t have the same magnetic pull to me that it used to, and my excitement for it has therefore diminished a bit. My own personal connection to it has faded, which makes me feel rather uninspired to teach it. As I noticed this happening, I began to really struggle with the idea of me teaching Kundalini Yoga any longer. I cannot deny what it has done for me, and I know it is needed by a great many people, but it no longer feels like mine. And that makes me feel phony when I teach it – something that I never want to be as a yoga teacher. I teach from my heart, and when my heart isn’t in it any longer, I don’t feel I should be teaching it.

So I’ve decided to let go of teaching Kundalini Yoga. The decision wasn’t easy, but it’s been made and it feels right. A big part of me is sad to let go, but I know it isn’t necessarily forever…it’s just for the moment. Who knows what the future will bring. The other part of me is excited – excited for the extra time and space to put my energy into the paths that I have been walking down more recently, and the new potential for teachings that they bring.

With that, there is only one thing left to be said.

Sat Nam.

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