You Don’t Have to Know Everything

Dear Yoga Teachers,

You don’t have to know everything.  Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know’.  Teaching is a collaborative process.  You will continue to learn with every student you encounter.  That is the great adventure of teaching.

When I was a new teacher, I felt such pressure to know everything about….everything!

Students would ask me about why their knee hurt, and why they saw colors when they meditated, and if they should do such-and-such pose given their (super long name I’d never heard before) issue. I felt like I had to have all these answers, and of course I wanted to help, so I tried. And, mostly people lived through my clumsy efforts, and still came back to class.

But, I always felt a bit afraid, a bit a fraud.

I worried about hurting people, so I insisted they move in super specific ways. I insisted on alignment. I followed ‘the rules’

It wasn’t until I grew confident enough to say those magical words ‘I Don’t Know’ that I could fully enjoy and embrace my role as a yoga teacher.

Now I offer options and allow students to find their own alignment, to adapt and customize poses for their bodies, I stick to my scope of practice, and aim to encourage yoga practice as a process of inquiry rather than I thought imitation.

I let go of the rules and my classes are safer, I feel safer, and my teaching is an experience of collaboration, curiosity, and collective inquiry. For me, this is yoga.

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