A Confession of a Yoga Teacher
From the very beginning of my yoga journey my dance with yoga has been one of a drive and an impulse to dive deeper into the road less travelled. I thought I could blindside my destiny and accelerate the process of growth. So I dove into the practice of self awareness, quietness and observation while learning to breathe deeper and to let go of attachments in my body, tissues and in life situations. The road was perilous, winding and unmapped but it was mystifying, ecstatic and illuminating. Then I became a teacher and that killed my personal mat practice for a while… which is to be expected (for you future teachers). Now here I stand in a world of yoga with my humble Interval Yoga and awareness teachings swamped and inundated with photos, requests and questions about achievement. In truth I am really not interested in the poses. I truly never was. Maybe for a second I got happy when the top of my head touched the soles of my feet while bending backwards but that happiness was fleeting and unfulfilling, it was empty, there was nothing in it for me. Heart to heart I really don’t care about the practice. The external practice that is. You know what, let me be blunt- the pose practice itself doesn’t matter! The moment you get caught up in the webs of the physical practice you lose your connection with the core of the practice, with the deeper meaning, with the divine connection. You become another human chasing attachment and serving expectations all the while preaching spirituality and namaste-ing everyone around you. I invite you to log onto any yoga community (except of course our humble yet gorgeously gentle and fluidly ephemeral Beautiful Yogis Facebook group) and you will see rows and rows of poses and achievement and traps, which it can be; and ways to get lost and disconnected from “yoga” Don’t get me wrong I like the physicality of yoga, I love the innovativeness, the fluidity and creativity and forward thinking in yoga and movement and in the healing arts. I like the way the breath yokes your soul and your body into ONE, I like the eroticism and sexiness of yoga. (If you are tempted to raise your eyebrow here and tell me that in India yoga is not sexy I will just tell you that your sexuality and your creative impulse are one and the same. What level of awareness and what intention you put into it makes all the difference of it being vulgarity and exposure or it being a beautiful tapping into the prana of life; sourcing from your own jing and re-connecting the male and female principles of both duality and oneness all contained within you. And all that while honoring the body that is hosting your spirit for this stop of your journey. The only reason why sexuality has been so viciously suppressed in all religious and even spiritual communities is because creativity has always scared the mediocre at heart men in power. It’s how the charade keeps going. But thats a subject of a different article 🙂 ). So… I like it all. I really enjoy the flow and the dance, the pausing and the breakthroughs, the inhales and the release… scratch that… I ACTUALLY LOVE IT! But I am utterly unattached to it because I know it would ultimately lead to my unhappiness if I did care and I value my freedom more than I value the rewards of the external practice. I will never be one of the practitioners that practice for 4 hours a day for years and years on end in order to get a bunch of impressive poses down. That is not yoga, that’s gymnastics and while it may be fun it is not the path my soul seeks.
I encourage you to love and embrace your physical practice
while remembering that
In essence the internal practice is the practice of you becoming YOU.
Practice with no attachment. Attach without attaching, expect without expecting, become without the desire of exactly what you are becoming. Become what and who you are, what and who you already are, re-become, re-discover, re-align with your higher self. Be the higher you. (as in the Lauryn Hill – I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind
I will leave you with that;
Let’s meditate on that thought- what are you looking to get from yoga? Enlightenment? A sense of self accomplishment? Emotional power? Connectivity? Oneness with the divine? An ecstatic or maybe erotic dance with the divine? A healing soul journey? Letting go of constant and tormenting self abuse and embracing the flow of life? Finding ease and grace in your practice or creating a struggle and a battle? Allowing yourself to hold the space for yourself in order for your soul to be healed and propelled to its next level of awareness? Creating a space that embraces your soul with grace? Healing your body, your past traumas and your future hurts? Finding the present moment hidden behind wants and desires?
Or shall we chase after the circus tricks and impress our own selves with our crafty bendiness while still being disappointed and frustrated about all the poses we haven’t achieved yet?
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Very deep, honest and well written. Truly hits the nail on the head. Thank you for this very important reminder, Ali. It’s easy to forget in a world of constant struggle of “must achieve and attach.” Thank you again for your refreshing honesty!
thank you! its really sparing ourselves from our self created imprisonment
This is why I enjoy your classes so immensely. You always encourage us to be ourselves and to walk our own path. You’re an inspiration xo
Thank you Ali. I am such a plow pusher type of person…always pushing myself so hard…in everything. One of the things I am learning here…in my time with you…is to slow down and look within. I am l,earning to enjoys smaller moments and finding peace with the self that I am at the moment. I struggle for the words to explain this…but I know I don’t really need to because you, of all people, know exactly what I am saying. You’ve such a lovely soul and heart Ali…ever, L xoxo
Hi Ali! You mesmerise me! I think I have a karmic bond with you! I loved the way you said…”I love my freedom…and thats why i am attached..yet unattached! You are an inspiration…adn so much I love from your yoga sessions and spiritual knowledge
My gurus blessings with you!
I’ve just recently find you and just a few days that I’ve been practicing with your lessons and you. But immediately I felt a connection. Because its so obvious that you’re not an imitation of something or somebody. The sincerity of your classes and videos and also writings. Thanks for everything. I’m truly grateful that I had a chance to know you. And also.. What a song! I’ve cried and laughed at the same time. Lots of love from İstanbul.