Over the past few years, it's started to feel like everyone is doing yoga —and regular yoga teachers have become an object of public fascination in the process. People who have had their lives changed by yoga are suddenly interested in finding out what being a yoga teacher is really like, and what yoga teachers really think. As a yoga teacher, I’ve traveled around the world teaching people how to properly bend, and in the process, I’ve accumulated a list of things I wish I could say to my students without the risk of getting fired by my boss — and now, I am finally saying them.
Seasoned yoga teachers have witnessed all the positive changes that yoga brings into their students’ lives, from increasing strength and flexibility, to developing better eating habits. We’ve also seen some weird, fall-on-your-butt-laughing-hilarious stuff in our classes. It’s not a boring job, that’s for sure. And it's helped me learn that there are common threads woven through the lives of many people who practice yoga — threads that we yoga teachers wish we could talk to you about.
So why don't we actually say this stuff? Well, sometimes we teachers are a little shy when it comes to telling you what we really think. But we want to cheer you on. We also want you to know we don’t have our lives figured out, just because we’re yoga teachers. But most importantly, we just want to add some joy to your life and help you achieve optimum health. Because trust me, we’re not in this for the money.
So imagine your favorite yoga teacher taking you aside after class, and telling you the 17 things below.
1. Yoga Is Really Not That Serious
So chill, girl. I get that you want to find some healing, but try to enjoy yourself in the meantime. Don't grimly focus on perfecting every pose.
2. Yoga Doesn't Give You The "Perfect Body"
No matter how many sun salutations you do, you’ll never look exactly like Jennifer Aniston or Madonna, because you are you, not them. And that's fine. Yoga is for all types of bodies; it's not about getting a "perfectly" toned body.
3. Your Body Is Already Perfect
At the risk of sounding like a groupie, you don't need to change a single thing.
4. Don’t Get Caught Up In Silly Arguments About Which Is The “Real Yoga”
There's no one right way. Do whatever yoga works for you.
5. Go Live Your Life!
I always want to say this to the people I meet who are three days away from completing a "300 day challenge." You don't need to do 300 consecutive days of yoga in order to really get it. Take a break. There’s more to this world than practicing asanas.
6. I'm Not Perfectly Healthy All The Time
The other day when you asked me what I eat to keep up a strong practice, I had had stale cupcakes for breakfast. And there's more where that came from.
7. It’s OK If You Also Do Other Forms Of Yoga
You don’t have to whisper about it in the corner of the lobby or apologize to your teacher for it. We get it. We don't mind. Our feelings aren't hurt.
8. Teaching Yoga Doesn't Automatically Make Me A Sex Expert
Don’t worry, I’m not having wild, spiritually awakening sex that you’re missing out on. Just because I teach yoga doesn't mean I know tantra.
9. Yoga Isn't All About Losing Weight
Sorry to break it to you, but yoga slows down your metabolism. But fret not — it just means your body thrives on less food.
10. Not All Yoga Teachers Are Great People
There are a lot of yoga teachers out there who have disgustingly inflated egos. They often call themselves "gurus." Be careful out there if you run into any of them.
11. Yoga Teachers Drink Sometimes
Hey, you want to retox with me after your detox?! Happy hour is calling to us.
12. Fancy Yoga Gear Is A Waste Of Money
There are heaps of reasonably priced, sustainable brands that are better.
13. Please Don’t Flirt With That Guy
He has dated about half the studio already, and he’s a sleaze.
14. You Make Me Love My Job!
You're amazing and you've come so far!
15. Please Don’t Fast And Then Try To Do Hot Yoga
Fasting followed by a rigorous hot yoga session never ends well. It will be an epic fail.
16. Don't Worry, This Class Will Cure Your Hangover
I've been there, trust me.
17. Did I Mention That Yoga Shouldn’t Be So Serious?
Seriously. Try to have some fun in class!