Confession: I'm not easily impressed. I suppose it goes back to my school days when I didn't care one bit about cliques or popularity or social status. In college I veered off the journalism path because I found the media to be distasteful. Later in life, it would be a total disinterest in Hollywood and lives of the players in that game (I'm still at a loss at to why the Kardashians are newsworthy). Maybe I'm just a rebel.
When I first landed on the yoga scene, I was intrigued by certain teachers. Over the years I would expose myself to a number of "big name/famous/well-known" yoga teachers. I watched my peers delight over approval from teachers, potentially trade authenticity to feel a sense of belonging with a particular teacher and his/her community, name drop, and amass a list of trainings and certifications that reads like the who's who of yoga elite. The rebel in me quieted for a second and I asked myself if perhaps I needed to amass my own list of credentials and associate with some "big names" to give myself more credibility. Not surprisingly, the rebel came roaring back with a definitive NO (Okay, it was actually "F*ck NO!" Yes, my inner rebel has a foul mouth.)
Instead, I set out to be a different kind of student -- one who learns from everything and everyone, and one who taps into her own knowing. When I sat down to write copy for my first Web site, I had to fight the temptation to name drop in my bio and list my trainings in an effort to impress, convince, validate. Instead, I focused on being me and sharing my approach to yoga. I watched so many other yoga teachers hire talent agencies, create their own yoga styles/methods, drop senior teacher names, and a host of other things in the name of credibility and promotion. I get it. We're hungry for names, credentials, star quality.
Yet still I care very little about those things. So much informs my teaching, and very little of it has to do with trainings and/or teacher interactions. Yes, I've amassed quite a few training hours, read a library of books, and learned from some amazing teachers, but it's not the whole pie, merely a piece. If I have to sacrifice popularity for this rebellious streak of mine, then so be it. The only name I've seemed to earn is "The Uncommon Yogi." If the yoga pants fit...
So in response to the oft-asked question over the years -- who's your teacher? -- I will give you my uncommon answer: Everyone (and everything, for that matter).
What, you haven't heard of Everyone? Everyone hasn't been on the cover of Yoga Journal? Everyone hasn't produced a best-selling yoga DVD? Everyone isn't a guest on Oprah? Everyone doesn't have a best-seller on the healing power of yoga?
Seriously though -- everyone is my teacher. I'm constantly schooled by everyone I meet, in all capacities. I've learned so much from the "no-names" (and by that, I simply mean names the general public wouldn't recognize -- not a yoga "star" in the bunch) in my life -- the friends, the lovers, the co-workers, the family members, the strangers met on the street, the irritators, the passengers in the seat next to me on the plane, the agitators, the people I try to avoid, the in-laws, and everyone in between. I'm continually taught about walking my talk, taking responsibility, knowing when my ego is in the driver's seat, compassion, what being a teacher truly means, connection, love, the meaning of yoga, and every other subject you could possibly imagine.
I'm not really a teacher. I'm a student. Always. It doesn't matter how many hours I've logged in trainings or how many clients I've seen or how many books I've read or how many workshops I've attended -- I am a perpetual student, a student of life and everyone living it.
Perhaps that's not sexy or popular or good PR or fodder for a successful reality TV show...but it's real. It's me.
Thank you for teaching me.
P.S. If you're intrigued by The Uncommon Yogi way, I'm creating a place for all of us uncommon folk to gather. I'm planning to launch my new Web site in the next 6 months. If you'd like to be notified when it's live, just let me know by filling in the box below: