By Nick Hansinger
Do you ever wonder why some yoga teachers are such dicks?
Yep, dicks. There. I said it.
There’s the control freak who calls you out in class because your middle toe is two degrees off center. He’ll tell you how important it is to accept yourself, while simultaneously browbeating you into asana submission because you’re not “doing it right,” but don’t worry, he’s only protecting you from ”injuring yourself.” Not now, but ten years from now. See how amazing he is — he can project into the future.
Or how about the self-righteous and judgmental vegan yoga teacher. One word: #irony
Or my favorite, the dark, brooding, over-sexualized, artistic type who barely acknowledges your presence. Unless, of course, you’re hot. If you’re hot, you’ll get all the best adjustments.
I should know. When I was starting out as a yoga teacher I was a total dick too.
And I sincerely apologize. That was before I realized that vulnerability was part of the gig.
See, just like any other yoga teacher, I am only human. I’ve had the same fears and insecurities as anyone else. I’ve worried endlessly about what people thought of me. I’ve been afraid they’d see what a hypocrite I was. I didn’t know if anything I had to say would be worth a malasana to anyone!
Instead of owning my own humanity (the very fears and insecurities that make us relevant to one another), I’ve tried to project an image of what I thought a yoga teacher should be. I’ve tried to be the person I thought they all wanted me to be.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
If you’re a student, I implore you to look beyond the surface of your teacher’s persona and know that under those fancy Lulus is a person who is probably scared to death to stand naked and be seen for who they really are — just like the rest of us. Trust yourself and trust your body. And hold that teacher accountable for what they bring into the class.
And if you’re a teacher, just a simple reminder that the essence of a yoga practice is identifying with others and knowing that we are all the same. Sharing your skills, thoughts and ideas is great and all, but what people really want and need is your heart — your vulnerability, your willingness to be seen.
The next time you feel the irresistible urge to model something in class — to show them “how it’s done” — choose to model ruthless authenticity and courageous vulnerability.
About Nick Hansinger
Nick Hansinger is a speaker, yogi, strategy coach and musician. He and his partner sold their successful yoga studio in Detroit, Michigan and moved to San Diego because: San Diego! They co-founded Source Movement™, a unique training and consulting business helping yoga teachers and yoga entrepreneurs everywhere build tribes and businesses of their own. Nick also has ninja skills at consulting executives and successful business owners so they can have positivity, spirituality and external excellence. His partner/wife and Boston Terrier, Leonard, are extremely happy in San Diego, so Nick doesn’t expect to be leaving anytime soon.