I, Erin Jorich, suffer from imposter syndrome. I regularly doubt myself and question my ability to do what I do as a yoga and movement teacher. Although I have been guiding various yoga classes for almost a decade I still wonder why anyone would want to spend their precious free time listening to me gab about yoga. Who am I to teach people about this ancient, sacred discipline? My Sanskrit pronunciations are probably garbage. My knowledge of the Yoga Sutras is simply mediocre. And my emphasis on yoga asana easily puts me in this hole of “Westerner bastardizing yoga”.
I know I’m not the only one in the world of yoga teachers who suffers from imposter syndrome. It’s quite normal to question oneself in the process of teaching. This yoga thing is vast and the knowledge is never-ending so it’s easy to step back and ask Am I even qualified to be doing this?
I was recently hired to teach a one credit yoga class at the University of Minnesota. A dedicated student referred the Dance Department to me to fill the open teaching position. The job was presented to me and I couldn’t contain my excitement. It was truly my dream job. I got to create a syllabus and organize an entire semester’s worth of content. But then I showed up on the first day, eager to share my syllabus and knowledge, and I froze. What the hell am I doing? I am a told fraud with 60 students trusting me for an entire semester. Am I even up to the task?
Yes. I am up to the task.
Over these last few years I’ve had to toe the line of being humble while also recognizing my accomplishments. Trust me. This Minnesota girl has a hard time taking compliments and showing pride in what she’s achieved in the last decade. It takes a lot out me to think You’re good at what you do.
I’m getting better at it. I know I’ve come a long way as a yoga teacher and student and I refuse to gloss over my progression. But it’s also important to admit that I’m no expert. As I’ve said many times, I’m no ones guru. Sure I have a lot of knowledge to offer students, but students and I cannot lose sight of the fact that the subject of yoga is deep and the majority of us are just scraping the surface of what it has to offer. On the flip side, however, I’m getting better at admitting when I just don’t know something. Sure I can school you on alignment and technique, but I won’t shy away and say I don’t know when something is outside my scope of knowledge.
Perhaps you, too, suffer from imposter syndrome. Again, it’s normal. I encourage you to reflect upon your accomplishments, the feats you’ve tackled, and the knowledge you’ve gained with pride. Never be ashamed of lifting yourself up. There’s enough static out there to tear us down and belittle us. It’s important to be our own loudest cheerleader. Along the way, check yourself. Be humble in your personal shoulder pats and be sure to lift up those around you along the way.