Why I Teach Yoga
(I wrote about this in February in a different blog. It was true then, and it’s still true now, so I’ll write about it again 🙂 )
I’ve been doing some research on Seattle yoga studios and as a result been reading a lot of yoga instructor biographies. More often than not, there would be a story on why that person came to yoga: to mend an injury, to find peace, to de-stress, to connect to the Universe, etc.
I don’t have any similarly great reason. I’m often confronted with questions such as, “Why do you do so much yoga?”, and “Why do you want to be a yoga teacher?”, or “How did you get into yoga?”
The real honest answer is, “I don’t know”. I really don’t know. I didn’t have any ground-shaking reason to start yoga. I didn’t have any grandiose “save-the-world-now” reason to want to teach yoga. I can certainly help someone find their sacrum, but I hesitate to proclaim that I can help anyone awaken to their Truth and find Eternal Bliss.
When I think about all the jobs I’ve ever had, I could readily walk away from every single one of them the moment I hit a lottery jackpot. But with teaching yoga, I feel like could do it for the rest of my life. I don’t even necessarily expect to make any money from it.
This sense of conviction actually scares me when I think too much about it, because how could anyone really know that they want to do anything *for the rest of their life*? It’s an immense commitment. (And yes, I may have some commitment issues, but let’s not go there right now :))
All I know is, I feel most myself when I “do” yoga. That’s all there is to that.
This fact used to bother me a little bit, “But, don’t I need a fancy schmancy awe-inspiring story to tell the world?”, I’d think to myself. After all, if someone asked why I teach yoga, “I dunno” just doesn’t seem to inspire confidence, does it?
One fine day, I came across The Ultimate Anti-Career Guide: The Inner Path to Finding Your Work in the World by Rick Jarow, where he quoted Martha Graham:
There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.
– Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille
Thanks to Martha, and Rick, I will say this: I do/teach yoga as a response to the direct urges that motivate me.