“Every yoga teacher is kind and genuine and has their own yoga practice and bad things and exploitation don’t happen in the world of yoga.”
That was what I thought going into teaching. Boy, was I blissfully unaware of the reality back then.
My first experiences as a teacher of yoga were wonderful. I started Happy Hippiez Yoga, and was teaching to a lovely group of students to whom I could connect in a very nice way, continuing to deepen my own knowledge and understanding of the practice, whilst finding my own teaching voice and style.
Then when the pandemic came, I decided to start teaching at other shalas and gyms as well, to generate some more income so that I could continue to do what I loved: to share the teachings of yoga.
I fully believed (and secretly hoped) that these studio owners would have the same basic yogic values that I uphold and stand for. I thought kindness would be a foundation for all people practicing and teaching yoga.
I thought these businesses would be rooted in satya (truthfulness), aparigraha (non-greed), in an established discipline and deep study of yoga (tapas and svadhyaya), as I had based my company upon, and still do to this day.
The reality however turned out to be surprisingly disappointing. Not only was there no connection to any practice of yoga for most of them, the greed and deep exploitation of those of us who willingly give and give (because we believe it is our dharma to do so) has been eye opening and in one instance even traumatizing.
In my humble opinion any teacher of whatever practice or lineage or specialization needs to, at the very least, have an established practice of that which they teach themselves.
Luckily since then I have met many other genuine teachers, practitioners and yoga shalas who share those important values and who continue to uphold a deeper space for learning and growth, where the core value is to genuinely practice first, and then teach from that foundation.
Therefore, I too continue to do my sadhana, my practice. I continue to invest in studying and practicing with my own teachers. I will forever be a student to the practice first, and only then can I be a teacher holding space for students. My teacher training journey didn’t stop after a 200h training. Here I am, after taking over 1600h of teacher trainings, telling you that my journey is far from completed.
Let’s all stay students to our practices. Let’s keep exploring. Let’s practice what we preach!