Be authentic. Be real. Don't settle.

 
 

An interesting thing occurred in the previous week. I was asked to demonstrate how I teach to a fellow teacher here in the west. As I’ve always maintained, an eastern trained teacher commonly teaches VERY differently to a western trained teacher. This particular person was trained here in the west, in the very famous Byron Bay (the hub of yoga here in Aus).

With a well known reputation here in Melbourne, I would be lying if I wasn’t nervous at first. I almost felt like I was being tested or something?! My immediate thought was to teach how I thought this woman would WANT me to teach. My ego kicked in and naturally I wanted to impress her. But as soon as the ego came, I was quick to let it go and remember what is most important to me and my practice.

  1. I wholeheartedly believe in the eastern approach to yoga. This is where I have gained most benefit (with little success under a western approach) so why should I compromise those beliefs to suit what I think someone else wants to see?

  2. It is not important to me what other teachers or students think of my approach to teaching. I’m so aware that my style will never resonate with everyone - I mean, how could it! We are all on different paths and we all need to do what feels right for us. In my case, I developed a deep respect for a traditional approach to yoga. So this is what I shall teach. Those who like it too - awesome. Those who do not - then that is totally ok!

  3. It’s good to be different. If I hear one more Gorilla pose or Wild Thing pose, I might just…. I’m not sure. But what I do know, is I have a profound respect for learning the traditional Sanskrit names and their correct translations and techniques. I feel this is fundamental to remaining respectful to the practice and its heritage. Whilst this particular teacher prefers to use terminology like Roadkill Pose and places little regard for guiding students into and out of the asanas, I on the other hand will not change my language/demonstrations to appeal to others. Not only would this be incorrect, but on a more personal level, it would be inauthentic.

In retrospect, this experience was so liberating for me. As the person who was never the popular girl at school, uni, work… as I was often too focused on my work to worry about anything social - the natural tendency is to do what others do to try and fit it. I also know this teacher was not fond of my approach to yoga. She didn’t tell me that of course, but after many years of working with all different types of people - the people pleasures, the outright liars, the worriers, the egotistical ones.. let’s just say I can pretty easily pick up what someone is thinking/feeling. The best part, however - for the first time in my life I was so pleased by this outcome. In the past I would have felt lesser than, judged, unimportant, questioned if i was any good at what i do. Not now. Now I take this as a sign of - “Yes! Look at how far I’ve come. How confident I’m becoming in myself and my abilities. To have the courage to remain true to myself despite probable judgement or ridicule. That I’m making my opinion matter” Woot!!

I went to India to train because I did not want to be like every other teacher out there. I went there because I wanted learn from those closest to the traditional heritage of this practice and then share this back here in the west. I don’t want to play Chinese whispers with this practice like many have (myself too to a degree of 10,000 years or so). So for me, it made sense to go to as close to the source as possible - to where it all began - for it is from this place that I believe that the most amazing benefits can be experienced.

What I’ve come to realise through my practice is - to hell with want I think others want of me. I love how I teach, and I have an amazing group of students who also appreciate my approach. Never before have I felt as empowered as I did in the moment I remained totally true to my practice. With nil capital and only a small audience, it’s very easy to be intimidated by the big boys. But at the end of the day - true passion, belief and guts cannot be bought. It comes from within.

Be kind to yourself, be true to yourself and remember to breathe

Today was all over the place for me. Although strong in some areas, my coordination and concentration was, in short, poor. My ankles, knees and hips were burning within moments of crossing my legs (total sitting time per day on the floor is approximately 6 hours - that’s a long time when your legs are snapping). They say you hold your emotions in your hips - if this is true then it makes sense why I am having such difficulty releasing the tension there. With so many years of working under extremely stressful conditions, among other things, it’s as though all my pent up stress/anxiety etc has turned to concrete in my hips. Rock hard.

Although no one can ever know you better than you - I often feel like Owen knows me better than I know myself. When we chatted this afternoon, he noticed there was something a little off with me. At this point, I didn’t even know there was something a little off! Then the tears come, and the worries, and the drama and all the other irrational crap which is just that - irrational. Turns out - me being me, and wanting to do well with this training - I am forgetting to be a little more gentle on myself. Even if this means being more present. Most days I’m very present, but something had me today, which I couldn’t quite pin point but it was there. But after chatting with my Owen, the world shone a little brighter. Owen is wonderful at helping me see a little clearer when I’m stuck in the fog within of my own mind. Although I can often get defensive during such conversations, when I actually stop and find the truth in what is being said, I am always so grateful. Getting caught in your own head is not a good thing. I often find myself there..

This evening, there were a number of students who were struggling with their practice. One even broke down in tears. Our teacher later reminded us that we are to expect our emotions to fluctuate. That our bodies are going through all sorts of changes at the moment which will cause us to experience all sorts of things - sad and happy feelings, memories of the distant past - we are to expect it all. We were also warned this is likely to heighten next week. Excellent!

If there is anything I have learned today - it’s to be present and gentle with myself. To notice what is going on with my body, mind and breath. To pay attention and not shy away as I usually would. In philosophy class, we were told we have only a certain number of breaths available to us before our death. Therefore, if we can calm and slow the breathing, then we extend our lives. So my new gift to self is to do exactly that - slow the breathing by finding stillness and being kinder to myself. Because I want to be here (life) for a long time!

Namaste xx


Always take time to notice something beautiful every day. There is always something, which you may have seen a hundred times before - but today, you ‘noticed’ it. 

Life is everywhere.

My favourite book stand