So i was pushed to write this blog post after chatting with one of my fellow yoga teachers who i am also pretty lucky to have as a student too. As a male yoga teacher i have found that over the last couple of years of teaching i have been pretty torn at times as to what sort of teacher i should be. This sounds pretty silly right? just teach yoga, thats all i have to do.
As a yoga teacher for one, everyone just expects you to have all your shit together and be the most relaxed and organised person ever (i would just like to say that the majority of yoga teachers i know are anything but hahaha...yes i know a couple of you are super organised). As a male yoga teacher, for 2, I have always taught a pretty strong Vinyayasa flow with its roots in the ashtanga system but even from day 1 found that teaching Yin and getting that slow relaxing part to be totally for me. I am also completely into the more traditional aspects of yoga such as Japa and mantra chanting, performing kriyas to help purify the cleanse the body.
As a teacher i have felt i am stuck doing what i do and then not wanting to frightening off those stridently suddenly by bringing in deeper elements of philosophy and yogic practice because I'm "the male yoga teacher who gives you a really good work out". Bringing in and discussing elements of love, peace, chanting deity names and other things which people might see as airy fairy and hippy have been things i have ended up shying away from for nearly 3 years due to the fear that this has become as "career" for me. I am managing to survive from just teaching yoga having given up my full time jobs as a nurse in A&E last December.
The end of 2017 has brought sometime to a head though, Yoga feels like it is my dharma, it is the path i am suppose to tread. It feels as if nursing has led me to a place in which i am able to help people only it has led me to yoga. I am hoping 2018 will be the start of me being truer to what it is i wish to impart and impact on my students and the society around me. I am trying to plan my own studio space working along side an osteopath to allow the therapy side of what i wish to do take flight but i also plan on doing more workshops on chanting and meditation, philosophy and pranayama to show that yoga isn't just about the fact that you can bend your back in half (see kapotasana picture at the top) or can balance around on your hands doing funny calisthenics type movements...after all without everything else, the deep introspective searching and questioning, the breath (always the breath) the vibrations of the names that we chant and the thousands of years of philosophy to give some point of context, thats all we are doing...jumping around on our expensive rubber mats.
To my male friends who don't practice yoga, we can often find we bury things away which, apparently, we aren't suppose to really show (according to societal norms). Yoga allows us to get in touch with our selfs and have a greater understanding of our selfs. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45....that says something about how much we do not know how to cope and deal with the thoughts/feelings and emotions that go around our heads and bodies. I am not saying yoga has all the answers, hell I'm a teacher of it and here i am saying that i am struggling to live and teach honestly to what i truly believe, but giving your self the time and space to just breath, move and be without the judgement of others is a really a good space to be.