Stop Listening to Your Yoga Teacher

I teach yoga for a living. I try to teach this to my students. I try to remind them that they should listen to themselves first and me second. As a teacher you'd think teaching myself would be easy. It's not.
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No one else knows what it's like to be you. You are an imprecisely perfect and singular expression, doing the best you can in your own distinct way. It all started when you were given a unique DNA code at birth. That marked you as different since before your first breath of air. This meant that the architecture of your body would be specific to you, the way you think, behave, your likes and dislikes would be like no other in the world. Over time we add to that different psychological and emotional histories and experiences, and it all adds up to you being the only incredibly crazy person like you. And you are the only person on the planet that knows what it feels like to be doing what you're doing at any given moment. That's why you need to stop listening to your yoga teacher and start listening to yourself. Become your own best teacher! No one else can do it. Yes, you can learn a great deal about yourself from others, and you should. What is challenging for most people to accept though is that it is you and you alone that will be responsible for the outcome of your own life.

We are beginning to understand now what ancient healers knew thousands of years ago: Our individual requirements are unlike any other person on the planet. I am a student of Ayurveda. Ayurveda (ayur = life + veda = knowledge) is a science to help you determine your own specific constitution so you can make wiser choices about what to eat, when to eat, what kind of exercises are best for you and even how much sleep you require. This allows you to run optimally, making you more valuable to yourself and the people around you. Sure, there are certain things that we can apply to all humankind -- we all need oxygen, we all need food, we need sleep and play and contact with other living creatures in order to thrive. Ultimately though, you are your own purposely-flawed being and in order to really grow you must start to look at those flaws and be utterly welcoming of them, even love them! They are who you are. And who you are is magnificent. And if you don't believe me, it's time to start giving yourself a bit more attention so you can understand what I'm talking about. Ayurveda can be a great tool to learn about yourself so that you can be your own best teacher. It would be wise to seek an Ayurvedic practitioner to help you get started.

I teach yoga for a living. I try to teach this to my students. I try to remind them that they should listen to themselves first and me second. As a teacher you'd think teaching myself would be easy. It's not. The self-critical voice that tells me I'm not good enough, or the judgmental voice that likes to look at what's wrong with stuff rather than what's right always gets in the way. The best and simplest way I know how to be my own best teacher is to get still. Really still. And I don't mean just stillness of body, but stillness of mind. It is in that stillness where I can hear myself more clearly. When you stop that incessant train of noise barreling through your head, when you can find the gap between the thoughts, there is a voice worth listening to. But that voice is below the surface. And most of us are too damn busy to even pay attention. You are not your thoughts. Thoughts are superficial experiences you have. Thoughts are the waves on top of the ocean. The stuff worth exploring is below the surface. It's in the depths of the ocean, and being still is how I most easily access that space. It takes practice. And it is not an easy practice, but it is a worthwhile practice. Everything you desire is already there - it's inside you. Being still takes courage and vulnerability and it requires you to tap into the side of yourself that doesn't have all the answers. The world does not teach us how to do this. You must teach yourself. So do yourself a favor and stop listening to your yoga teacher. Start listening to yourself. If you don't, no one else will.

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