Please Don't Judge Me By My Handstand

The Internet. This is a place where I've more often than not presented my yoga practice as handstands and arm balances and difficult poses that require some level of skill and strength. Some of the people who have seen said posts know me, personally. Others, I've never met. Regardless, none of them know my practice intimately. Only I do.

And so it goes that I get judged by what I present. Its a hazard of social media and I'm not at all complaining. There are people who have a more advanced practice than me seeing what I post and there are those who haven't worked into some of the poses I can do or who have never tried yoga seeing what I post. It all evens out.

As long as you are sitting somewhere with no intention of ever coming to my yoga class, please judge away. But where I would ask you to stop is if you are in the smaller population of people who do or think you might want to try yoga and we happen to be in close enough proximity that you could take one of my classes. Why? I am not the yoga that I present to you on Instagram. No one is. My personality as a teacher is barely even hinted at in the poses and words that I post as captions.

I have taught life-long professional movers who enjoyed my class. I've taught rote beginners and elderly people and pregnant women and injury-ridden individuals and curvy people, tall skinny people, rich people and poor and the list goes on. What I've discovered in my hiatus from having regularly scheduled classes is this: Not only is this my profession (IE Not a hobby or something I do part-time), this is my art, my passion, my calling. If you've ever met me and been confused by my person because I'm a little quirky, a little hard and march to the beat of my own drum, take a yoga class from me. It will all make sense - that is my natural environment.

So back to the handstands really quick... Rarely do I meet seasoned yogis who would turn up their noses at taking a class from someone who is not as advanced or hasn't been teaching as long as themselves. I say rarely, but I have met them and for the most part they have been over-archingly assholes. Sorry not sorry. I do, however, meet people who think I will grind them into a pulp if they come to my class because I myself, practice poses that look difficult and because I do handstands and arm balances. Is that you? 

Here's what you probably can't guess by my social media:

1) I do as much restorative and yin yoga as I do power yoga and handstand drills. MORE, actually. 2) I have more hours of teaching yoga under my belt than it takes to acquire a college degree.

Not every teacher is going to "resonate" with you or fulfill the kind of role you are seeking in a fitness coach. But you can't know that until you've taken a class from said individual. Here's a little bit of what I think I bring to the table that might help you see past the social media and get a little better idea of what to expect if you were to come to my class:

THE 100% BEGINNER: To you I offer clear, concise coaching. I can give you directions that will help you to get a grasp of yoga that will translate to any class you take afterwards. Even if you were to accidentally step into an advanced class, I would still be able to help you in the direction of feeling capable and comfortable. I give directions that are not jargon and if I use a technical term I couple it with directional cues that will help you learn. 

THE INITIATED: You've done some yoga. Maybe you're a casual partaker and maybe you practice regularly. To me, that doesn't matter. I want you to walk away having had an excellent experience. So I will push you to your edge. But I won't push you past your limites and I won't let you push yourself past, either, if at all possible. I don't instruct poses. I teach yoga. So if you want something more than the physical it is there for you. If you want to ignore it, the style in which I teach is modern and westernized enough that you're not going to feel like I'm trying to make you the member of a cult. So much of the asana practice is HOW a pose is cued and not the pose itself. So much of the sequencing is HOW the poses are strung together and not the poses themselves. This is how I can appeal to a casual yogi and a person much more seasoned than myself without breaking stride. 

Ok, so that's it! I've taken classes from teachers and talked with students that have literally said to me, "Oh, you're a handstand girl." It wasn't meant snarkily. As humans we are in perpetual motion of comparing ourselves both upwardly and downwardly. But you just are who you are and I am who I am and damnit, I do handstands but I am not handstands nor do I teach in a way that can be summed up by looking at one. 

But, if you want to learn I can teach you how ;-)

For a little more interesting reading on the ethos of being a yoga teacher written in way that landed with me, check out this recent post by Kino McGregor:

How long does it take to become a yoga teacher? Do you really think 200 or even 500 hours is enough? _ To answer that question you have to ask what it truly means to be a yoga teacher. If it's just about memorizing a sequence, it might be enough. But if it's about studying, learning and experiencing the deepest aspects of the human spirit then it's hardly enough. What qualifies you first and foremost to be a teacher of yoga is your devotion to the full depth of the practice. If you stop at asana only or quit before the practice has a chance to truly seep into your soul, you'll always be left with a bitter taste in your mouth. If you worship at the temple of the body and only judge your success by how many poses you master, you'll pass that same attitude of materialism on to your students. _ Traditional yoga says that there are four key components to the spiritual path: the teacher, the student, the community and the passage of time. While you can work hard at your practice, find an awesome teacher and immerse yourself in a network of like-minded yogis, you cannot rush time. I've seen too many able-bodied, super talented yoga students quit their practice before the magic of the practice sunk in. That's ok. Yoga isn't for everyone. But for people who would consider becoming yoga teachers, there is something to understand about giving all your heart and all your soul over a sustained period of practice that simply cannot be rushed. _ The average university degree has students log close to 2,000 hours in class and that's not including homework assignments or reading. Yoga is like a university degree in the human spirit. Not only are there numerous texts to study and cherished teachers that will help guide your development, but there is both your time and presence which you must decide to give to the practice. Being a yoga teacher is a sacred responsibility. Teachers are not saints, they are first and foremost students of yoga who love the practice and give their lives to it. I teach BC I burn for this practice and I hope that my enthusiasm lights the fire in your heart. _ #30dayyogaliving Day 24 @omstarsofficial @larugayoga is January Sirsasana A 🙏