Yoga Teacher Reflection: “I am Really Bad at This”

As a yoga teacher there are several key phrases from friends, strangers and students I hear on a weekly basis, I actually tackled a lot of those comments in another article a few months back. One in particular that struck me was when a student walked into my classroom with an equal mix of curiosity and fear. When I introduced myself to her hoping to calm her nerves she said, “I want to try yoga but I already know I am really bad at it.” In that moment I reassured her that she could do it and although she did stay for class and enjoyed herself, I walked away feeling as if I could have done a better job guiding her around her ego-attack feelings of inadequacy. After some reflection, I broke it down into two thoughts. 

Literally every person in the room thinks the same thing. |

We all compare ourselves: the beginner compares herself to the novice, the novice compares himself to his best teachers, and the teachers compare themselves to their mentors. It’s human nature to seek out our competition, sometimes we let it drive us, and other times it deters. When I think about this an image pops into my head, think: a “Saved by the Bell” style freeze-frame where each person is looking to the next for reassurance that they don’t suck, or worse yet, that they do. The faster a student feeling lackluster can recognize that freeze-frame image as reality, the easier it is to step onto their mat and find that feeling of equality that yoga brings to the forefront.

What would you tell a child? |

In those moments when you find yourself spiraling into self attack mode, picture a child, what would you say to her? Most times we know that the tricks our mind plays on us are more laughable than they are fact, yet it’s still so easy to play into them. When we look at the situation objectively and take our own insecurities out of the equation it’s easier to bring clarity to an otherwise murky judgment.

Whether you are a yoga teacher who confronts this thought process daily or a student who finds himself feeling “not good” on occasion, next time “I’m bad at this” comes up, break it down, look at all pieces of the puzzle, and bring your thoughts back to love.

Happy practicing.