Courage is not the absence of fear.

Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway.

The teacher trainees “taught” for the first time yesterday. A group of about 10 of them taught the other 8 a sequence of poses they’ve been studying.

It was honest, thoughtful, affectionate, and spontaneous…. it was kind of like a first kiss. So sweet to hear their voices, to see them enchant the room. To watch them watching the process.

I think being a teacher of any kind takes a great amount of courage: putting yourself in front of a group (I’ve read surveys that cite public speaking as the #1 fear for people… #2 is death), the group is waiting for you to tell them what to do, the people have probably paid something to be there (the pressure!).

And even more so with yoga. It’s such a personal and intimate thing to share. In order to speak in a sincere way that might help students touch those deeper parts of themselves, the teacher must have accessed that in herself. After having poked around in those dark corners, we stand up in front of people and, in a way, allow them to look there too. It becomes a sharing not just of movement and breath and energy (which is incredibly intimate in itself), but also of story and fear and joy.

Sure, it’s about the body. Sure, it’s about where your knee goes in warrior II. And, we cannot deny the fact that the body, the cells remember. Check out this brilliant post from a trainee—the second paragraph from the bottom. We all have things that are “unfinished,” in the heart and the body, just waiting for a little wiggle room, any kind of acknowledgement, and an escape route.

At least this is my experience of practicing and teaching. I’m not interested right now in any other way. This is my service, my heart…. my TRUTH. The budding teachers I saw yesterday are on their way to finding theirs as well.


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