I’ve been on an interesting quest these past few weeks. Taking time to really explore the business of yoga. Not just the practice. The business of it. Talk about an eye opening experience. It’s been a really helpful exercise to really understand the ebbs and flows of the industry. What works, what doesn’t work… As a new studio owner, this has been a really reassuring experience. Learning that I too share the same challenges of the other studios out there. They’re not unique to me or a sign our studio is not succeeding.
Something which has really stood out for me has been the perceived need (of teachers) to have all their ‘shit’ together. That we as teachers must not allow students to see into our lives and the challenges we (as human beings. Yep, we’re just like all of you!) face daily. Now, whilst there are many things about my life I choose to keep private, I really enjoy sharing my journey with everyone. The ups and downs. When I make a mess of things and when I pick myself up. Personally, I like that people can get to know me. That the reality of business and yoga is openly shared. The reason I began this blog in the first place was to share my transition from corporate world to yoga in a completely raw, authentic way. To never sugar coat the experience. Why? Well, personally I was tired of being fed stories of perfect lives. It’s not inspiring. It’s a little disheartening to be honest. It leaves me feeling as though I’m lacking something because my life doesn’t move in a liner, perfect direction as these other ‘yogis’ lives appear to be. Truth be told - my life is all over the place! Horizontal, backwards, upside down and full 360 circles daily. And to be honest, I like that. I’ve accepted life will never be perfect. And nor do I want it to be perfect – whatever that is! This is what makes life interesting. This IS the journey.
So how could I be a teacher if I’m not living a perfectly Zen life? Frankly, I believe anyone who claims a perfect life is telling a few porky pies. (Or I could be completely wrong and just a grumpy cow… Maybe they are all enlightened begins and I’ve missed something fundamental over the years in my training). At the end of the day, life is a challenge – for all of us. We are all fighting the same battle. I believe what is important is how we face those battles. Our perspective toward them. Do we react or do we take time to contemplate and seek to understand? Do we reflect and think about how we could respond better next time?
My life is not Zen, but of course I am working toward that each and every day. It’s highly likely I will never achieve a perfectly still life, and that’s OK. It’s the intention behind my practice that is important. In taking the time to explore and deepen my connection with my body, breath and mind. There doesn’t need to be the added pressure of having to achieve a perfect state of being. I’m not so sure that would be much fun anyway! Whilst I hate to be totally cliché here, the old saying, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey,” is so very true.
Part of this journey involves remaining a student. Not having all the answers. I think it’s quite a powerful way of living your life. Always a student. Every day is never the same. Life becomes one big university degree and more. We learn how to get by in the face of adversity, how to stand when we fall. We develop better ways of communicating with others and, more importantly, with ourselves. We develop skills and become experts in all sorts of things. We impart knowledge onto others. We share philosophical discussions, teach others and are taught by others. There is something to be learned in each and every moment of the day. We just need to look for the lesson. So personally, I like to be very honest about my place in the world. In this blog, I focus on sharing my journey as a teacher and business owner. I do this as I feel it helps others to trust that a life by design, a life that is inspiring and challenging at the same time is very possible. That one doesn’t need to have achieved an enlightened state before the path they desire reveals itself to them. I hate to say it people, but I must accept I am not yet an enlightened being………. (I can hear my partners laugh and comment now as he reads this. It would be something like, “You got that right Jessica!”.)
So to all my unenlightened readers, welcome to the party.