Ever wonder what your yoga teacher is thinking about while you’re striking a pose and taking a deep breath? Their thoughts might just surprise you—and at least make you laugh.
Welcome to the mind of the deeply flawed and hardly perfect yoga teacher. Brace yourself, and please try not to laugh too hard.
“My butt looks big and are my pants see through?”
We’re not looking at you and your body parts. We’re just as self-conscious as the next person—and perhaps even more so because we’re center stage. Remember that the next time you think someone is judging your body.
“What if I can’t demonstrate this next pose?”
As a yoga teacher, I’ve experienced my fair share of embarrassing moments when I haven’t quite been able demonstrate a pose. My personal weaknesses are Navasana (boat pose) and Bakasana (crane pose). This why we often ask YOU to demonstrate some poses for us.
“Please, dear God, help me to not fart in front of my students.”
Let’s face it, gas happens in yoga and passing gas is embarrassing in any situation, especially when you’re the teacher. Many times, I’ve spontaneously hopped to my feet and walked around the classroom just to prevent one from escaping.
“I wonder what I should cook for dinner. My stomach is growling like crazy.”
Along with that are “Did I pick up the dry cleaning?” or “Does my kid have a ride home from soccer?” As much as we try to stay focused on the present moment, our minds wander, too. Even though we seem to be the prime example of centeredness and calm, we are also human.
“Are my moves too boring?”
As teachers, we sometimes forget that students are experiencing the sequence for the first or second time. We may speed up or throw in some difficult moves because we think you’re bored. Let your yoga teacher know if you need a challenge or if you’d prefer to slow down. Your feedback helps us.
“I see an exposed body part. Do I cover them up or tell them?”
In yoga, we see students in all sorts of positions. Body parts, if not properly covered, do get exposed. When assisting students in child’s pose, I’ve pulled down many T-shirts to cover exposed bottoms and adjusted shirts to help hide cleavage. But when I see a man in loose shorts instead of more confining yoga clothes, there is just no good way to tell him.
“Oh man, there’s a spider on my mat and I may normally kill it. But … we’re in yoga and … no harm and all.”
Practicing ahimsa (non-harming) is not easy while six and eight-legged critters are making their way across your mat. I’ve had students scatter all the way to the opposite side of the room while I had to “escort” an uninvited guest out of the studio.
“Am I talking too much or talking too little? Am I looking them in the eyes enough or not?”
Yoga is a sacred practice that requires you to stay centered and focused. It can be difficult for a teacher to find that happy medium between being entertaining, inspiring, serene, and absent all at the same time. If we’re not looking at you, it doesn’t mean we don’t love you. If we’re quiet while you hold a pose, it is only to allow you the space to find your own quiet within.
“Are we on the left foot or the right foot? Or did I just say right when I meant left?”
It can be hard to keep track of what foot we’re on. If you’re mirroring students, (when my right is your left etc.) we are perpetually confused. Show grace and forgive us when we don’t know right from left.
“Will my latest teaching nightmare come true?”
We have all had nightmares of showing up to school with no pants on or having to take a college exam after being out of college for 20 years. Yoga teachers have nightmares, too. Our subconscious mind worries about not having any students or having too many. We worry about the music being too loud and not being able to communicate with our students.
Your yoga teacher is no different than you. And if she can laugh at herself, you’ve found the best teacher of all.