You may heard about the perfect yoga teacher delivering her eight children without pain, follow her vegan diet of moral perfectionism on Instagram or maybe you met her last week in Hell. The last part is a joke, of course, because last week she was glamping in the woods with orphans, monks and the stars of Wanderlust.
The truth is the idea of the flawless yoga guru/yoga teacher serves no one. It is in our flaws that we are most human and yoga is a way of meeting ourselves so we can get through life’s hiccups: not pretend they don’t exist at all.
You don’t have to look far to see the astonishing history of gurus sexually and financially exploiting yoga practitioners to realize how the idea of the perfect teacher actually is a block to finding your own truths and yoga’s ability to help seek them.
JP Sears hilarious video on becoming an expert yoga teacher shows the human side of teaching yoga and helps take teachers off the pedestal our image-driven culture helps ascribe to them. Rachel Myer’s beautiful tribute to the late yoga teacher Michael Stone raises excellent points about the dangers of yoga’s cult of positivity and how our tendency to seek out the perfect teacher hurts everyone especially when there is a stigma to a yoga teacher recognizing and therefore covering their own struggles.
So, next time you see your yoga teacher in class realize we are one in the same. There is a popular Hindu mantra in yoga, Soham, that translates into ‘I am That.’ When you find yourself needing more compassion it can be helpful to repeat it when you see marvel, or, when finding yourself messing up in a pose look to your teacher, smile, and repeat in your head: I am That.
Thank you for reading my post. I hope you have a marvelously imperfect day.