I might have a very clear, definitive perspective as a yoga teacher, but my life outside the yoga room is quite different. I have mild social anxiety. I constantly doubt myself. I have a terrible time making decisions for myself. I'm kind of messy. (My husband will disagree and say I'm very messy.) I'm incredibly lazy when I have an open schedule. I'm sure I could go on...
At the the top of my "I am" list is insecure. It's taken me many years to feel confident and comfortable while teaching yoga, however I still have a hard time turning off the inner critic. Does that person like my class? They all hate me. They would much rather be in that other teacher's class. The inner narrative is exhausting. Especially when jealousy rises up, rather than defeating myself, I have to remind myself that not everyone is going to be into my classes. Everyone will have their preferred teacher. I will not be everyone's preferred teacher.
I can't fail to mention, however, that the more I have developed my style as a teacher the more I feel like I'm finding my people. The students who are willing to deal with my attention to detail. The students who laugh at my stupid jokes. The students who ask questions and engage with content beyond the designated class time. It's been exciting to build and connect with this community.
When I went through my 300-Hour Teacher Training last year one of my homework assignments was to clarify my "big picture teaching objectives". Who am I as a teacher? What do I want my students to gain from my classes? I have to constantly keep these questions in the forefront of my mind. I especially have to ask myself these question when the self doubt flares up. The answers to these questions keep me grounded in who I am as a yoga teacher and student.
On top of reminding myself of my objectives as a teacher I've developed a new motto to chant to myself when I start to criticize myself or compare myself to others:
Girl, quit it. You do you.
Any time I facilitate a teacher training I encourage new teachers to find themselves. You don't have to be a parrot of someone else. There's no rush to develop your voice, but you should take the time to internally investigate the teacher you want to be. And once you figure it out, be absolutely unapologetic about who you are as a yoga teacher and a human. I suppose I'm finally starting to take my own advice.
Along with clarifying my overall teaching objections for my 300-Hour I had to brainstorm group classes, workshops, and retreats that aligned with my objective. Although everything I've been working on over the last year has aligned with my core principles as a yoga teacher, I have started to feel like there's been a disconnect between who I am as a yoga teacher and who I am as Erin Jorich, the person. I'm not just a two-dimensional, paper doll who thrives on teaching alignment-forward asana classes. I'm Erin Jorich. A person who loves the ritual of a warm beverage in the morning. A person who audibly squeals at the sight of a dog. A person who unleashes the crazy when attending soccer matches. A person who doesn't make enough time to get outside but feels nourished and whole after some quality time with Mother Nature. With that in mind my future projects are going to prioritize the many facets of who I am as a person and yoga teacher.
One last thought. I sometimes find myself buying into the cattiness that can be the yoga world. If another teacher has a huge following I need to celebrate that teacher's success rather than immediately feel envious. As a community we need to elevate each other, not tear each other down. Rather than comparing ourselves let's start paving the way for others to grow in this industry. There's room for all of us to flourish!
Get ready, friends. I'm very excited for what's to come!