I started learning Yoga back in the year 2003 when it was quite big in some places but in India, few people were seriously interested in Yoga or teaching it. There were Yoga schools and Yoga teachers but nothing close to the kind of numbers and popularity we see today. I started learning it because someone had gotten my mother into Yogāsana practice a little before that and she thought it would help me be physically healthier.
Going for my first teacher training back in 2006, I had no idea what I was signing up for or what I could expect to learn. Simply because of lack of information, I went into the course without any expectations or specific goals; I just wanted to be able to learn something new. That course was such an eye-opener, such a beautiful glimpse into everything that Yoga had to offer, things that I had no idea about until that point.
I fell in love with Yoga then and, although that love has ebbed and flowed, been forgotten for a while, I kept coming back to it in some way or the other. The breath became my best friend in the toughest of times and led me back into actively pursuing Yoga 12 years later in 2018. I started exploring Yoga philosophy, took courses and trained as a teacher. I had no intention of teaching but teacher training courses were the most accessible way for me to go more in-depth into the study of Yoga.
Without necessarily planning it, I started teaching soon after I finished one of the courses and, as time went by, I realised I truly enjoy teaching. I had never taught anything before and had never even dreamt that I would one day become an educator of some kind; I always thought I didn’t have it in me to teach. Once I made the decision to teach full time, though, is when it really sunk in that I was plunging into the world of Yoga head on!
What a journey it has been until now! I started teaching in early 2019 (cannot believe it has been 3 years already!!!) and every single day has been a learning experience, every student has been a teacher pushing my limits of knowledge and practice.
Every time I do not know the answer to a student’s question, accepting it in front of them and to myself, using it as an opportunity to learn, has been a lesson in acceptance and humility.
Every time someone who has the ability to pay has asked me to teach for free or for an amount that would be unfair to me, it has been a lesson to stand up for myself and politely but firmly stand my ground. This, in turn, has helped me teach those who may be struggling financially but are truly keen to learn.
Every time I have been tempted to be gimmicky on social media to try and grow my following, it has been an effort to go back to my teachings and remind myself that I must not disrespect this rich, wise, beautiful philosophy in any way.
Every time I have had a student do a posture way better than me and to still be able to push them to do and be better has been a lesson in not falling prey to jealousy and envy and in consciously developing a genuine joy for their progress.
Every time I have had to tell someone that I do not teach ‘advanced’ postures (headstands, handstands, peacock, etc.) because it is a choice I have made for my practice and teaching has been a test of resolve to overcome the fear of losing out on students.
Every time a student has come back with feedback on wanting to change something in our sessions, it has been a lesson in acceptance, listening, and working with the student to devise a way to move forward in a way that works for both of us without being defensive about my teaching skills.
It has not been very long since I started teaching but it has been rewarding beyond any expectation! I have learnt so much about people, myself, communication, empathy, patience, kindness, and surrender. I feel like I finally have begun to carve a small little space for myself where I feel completely comfortable with who I am, what I am doing, and how I am living my life. I still have lots to learn and an urge to share everything I learn with those who might benefit from it.
I do not feel like an imposter anymore when I go to my classes and teach and talk about concepts from scripture. I feel like I truly do have a little something I can share with others, a little something that can help others with their problems and their lives. I have slowly begun to realise that being myself, sharing my journey, my limitations, and my progress seems to help a lot of those I teach to keep expectations real but to also understand that progress and change do not happen overnight. It can take days, it may even take years, and that is alright.
I cannot wait to see what else life has in store for me as I continue on this journey. I have discovered new aspects of myself that have been deeply surprising. My journey has now slowly led me on a path I would have never expected to be on a few years ago, but it feels so right!
Thank you, every single one of you who has been a part of my journey so far in some capacity – student, friend, mentor, teacher, critic, naysayer – you have all been playing such invaluable parts in my journey and I could not have gone on without you. Thank you so very much and hope you stay with me on this journey to the end!