Philosophers, prophets or loud mouthed cunts?
Or lunatic liars
With theories just made to debunk?
To write an autobiography according to Slits guitarist, Viv Albertine, you have to either be “a twat or broke” – the opening line to hers. She claims to be “a bit of both”. Well, if that’s what it takes to begin writing one of the best books I’ve ever read, then I’m also happy to be a broke twat.
It is with even greater humility one must write a blog, as no one is asking or paying you too. So who are all these people trying to tell the world their life stories? And who am I? How do we prove that we have something worth saying on the blogosphere? Maybe we don’t have to. We just say it and see who listens. Write it, and see who reads.
I’d never have had the gumption to self-publish until I experienced the buzz of teaching something I most passionately love and believe in. I never knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I’ve been looking for some sort of platform for a while. Writing for editorials, working in medical research, studying at university, even looking after people in hospitals, was all about trying to express ideas I found important, and ultimately spread the right vibes. I thought I needed to stand on an established stage until I realised that I’m not very good at acting. I need to speak with authenticity. From my script. In my diction.
Many, with (some) reasoning, could argue that yoga teachers aren’t really the same caliber as other, more “academic” schools of educators. In pedantic terms, I am actually a yoga instructor, yet I slightly begrudge the suggestion that I’m just instructing people where to put their arms, legs and perineum. Until I was at the teacher training course, I didn’t really know what “Yoga” was, and there was a hell of a lot to learn. Especially if one is philosophically rooted in the West.
I was very fortunate to have some Indian super-Yogi “teachers” tell me all about yoga. Without spoiling subsequent blog posts, Yoga in essence, means “union”. Teaching a yoga class is about encouraging people to connect. A beautifully vague yet perfectly poignant challenge, which suits me much better than any strict guidelines I’ve failed at following in the past. It is the most rewarding experience when people find this union, at least with a piece of their own body or mind, right in front of you.
In a yoga class I like to weave ideas through movements and into the students’ awareness through poetic feeling. Through yoga poses I encourage people to learn about themselves, and how to connect with the matter they inhabit. There are endless ways of doing this, and endless possibilities of what it can do for you. I want to expand those ideas and see how far they can reach. I want to fully know what I’m talking about, and what I’m telling people to do. This blog extends the concepts practiced in my classes, explored and explained.
There’s also some obvious limitations as to what we say leading a yoga class. Freedom of speech on a blog is outrageous! And I will embrace it fully. You can’t say certain things to a room full of people trying to relax, exercise and meditate. It’s not a place for me to leave an experimental concept hanging like a bad fart in a room full of people trying to meditate. That’s one of the reasons I stopped eating lentils.
“Those who can, do; those who cannot, teach.”
I remember my obnoxious 10 year old self reciting George Bernard-Shaw’s facetious remark to dear Mr Dent (the first male, and under 50 teacher in a West Sussex village primary school). Who the hell did I think I was? Little shit. Since then, I have learnt that teaching is a key part of our own learning. How many times do we just have to say things out loud in order to just explain them to ourselves? We are all students and all teachers at the same time. What better way to teach than to learn, and what better way to learn than to teach. It is a beautiful cycle. Furthermore, in order to teach, you must at least know how to do.
Well who do I think I am now? Telling you all of this. To instruct someone on how to do something, or inform them with knowledge, is a special privilege, that also requires great responsibility. To fill someone with true knowledge and inspiration is greatly rewarding, but you must fully believe the knowledge you share, or at least make the offer of it’s possibility meaningful, if not entirely ‘logical’.
Becoming a teacher requires you to re-find your self-esteem. Mine had seriously left the building, especially since my last job (I’ll come to that in another post). Teaching also has nothing to do with power, despite my jokes that during a yoga class I’m controlling a whole room full of people for an hour or so. It is a totally privileged position to be in to share the wonders that I’ve learnt. It is also an opportunity to be judged outrageously by a whole load of strangers. I love it. Because it makes you just have to surrender to what you believe in, and have faith in what you’re saying. People will know if you’re not convinced. And what would the point in that be? We are trying to pass on what we know to be helpful and true.
There is a twisted sense of liberation generated from not worrying what other people think. If you know your intentions are good, and that something deep down or high up is telling you that you’re in the right space at the right time, and you’re getting good feedback, then what else do you really need? Some big famous bastard to tell you you’re great and cool and the best? Teaching is not an arrogant spout out of cathartic bollocks, it is an equal exchange. A sharing of knowledge and inspiration, of encouragement and self-empowerment.
But I’m not trying to teach anyone a lesson on here, let alone preach anything, god forbid! I don’t claim to be a wise old yogi, or even a particularly young one. But I’ve been so inspired lately, that even though I was once a cynic, life is now illuminating if not enlightening. And I can’t waste the opportunity of space to put some inspirations out there and see if I can inspire others beyond the yoga lessons. Out of duty, dharma, passion, compassion, self-esteem and a tempered ego.
I want to see if anyone else feels the same: is as inspired, enraged, or fascinated by the same things as me. And it won’t all be boring righteous stuff – love, life and unity. Life’s dark, mad magic and weird wonderment are certainly on my agenda, Brenda! Perhaps I am just a deluded luny cunt poet after all! Another drop in the big blog ocean.