A fellow yoga instructor the other day asked me, “JJ, why do you teach yoga?” This question got me thinking a lot about why I am doing what I am doing. Teaching yoga is not just another job. This is a career for me. I am in it for the long haul and for the love of the practice. I don’t teach yoga for the money. It’s not just a means to make ends meet, because my ends barely meet up most of the time. To be completely honest, if I wasn’t blessed with a supportive family, friends, and co-workers to help me in my endeavors, the path of teaching yoga might have been bumpier. Seeing students progress on and off the mat brings value to me that you can’t put in a salary.
Teaching is not a performance. It’s not a competition. And it’s not a popularity contest. I don’t teach to be patted on the back. Teaching yoga is a practice, a discipline, and a tapas that demands you to live with as much integrity and compassion as you can rally!
Truthfully I teach yoga because I am selfish. I know it sounds bad but it’s the truth. I do what I do because I love it so much that I can’t see myself doing anything else. My mind has exploded more times in the past year and a half from teaching than it has before in the 28 years I’ve been alive. When I think about how many more times my mind is going to explode as I continue on this path, I understand that I will never know it all, and I can never know enough, and this is why I teach yoga! Teaching stokes an inner fire in me that grows every class and new student whose path I cross as they are touched by this ancient practice.
One of my favorite things about teaching is creating a community of like-minded students and friends. As much joy that teaching brings me, when it comes down to it, it’s all about the students. I want to help my students to learn, to connect with their breath, to feel good, to achieve their goals and to live well in their bodies so they can live well in their lives. The more students come to practice and learn, the more chances I get to learn from them. I teach my students to learn from my students. When teaching from the depths of my heart, authentically, and true to my self, the practice (the teaching practice) leaves me feeling raw, exposed, and vulnerable, which teaches me a lot about myself.
I want to bring yoga to those who might not normally come to it. I want to bring yoga to the people that need it the most, to orphaned girls at Homes of Hope in India and to ISS students at Laney High School. I seek to inspire. I want to help others realize the limitless potential that already resides in them. Teaching is a mission of service. Ghandi said, “To find yourself lose yourself in the service of others,” and that is why I teach yoga.
To be able to be a guide for individuals on the yogic path makes being a teacher of yoga one of the noblest professions there is. While I teach yoga to help individual people, I know deep within my bones the true potential that lies within this practice is a revolution that will awaken the entire universe. With me believing and trusting in the true potential of this practice it brings me a sense of ease and peace knowing that I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I am doing, teaching yoga and following my dharma. This is why I teach yoga and will continue.
If you’re interested in mind explosions check out our link to our teacher trainings here at the Wilmington Yoga Center