Over the last month I have seen more than a few things online that have caused me to feel uncomfortable, no more than anyone else I'm sure! But what bothers me the most is not what is global or on everyone's mind and spoken about at dinner conversations over the past few weeks.....what effects me the most is things I can relate to right in my own life and the lives of others I am surrounded by all the time.
What I really feel uncomfortable with is ill speaking, is negative name calling, is unreflective and unhelpful comments, is statements that offer no lesson learnt or positive insight.
Over the past month I have come across more than a few threads on the Yoga scene that have involved conversations about 'what is bad about a yoga teacher or a yoga class, or what is annoying about yoga students?'
However inclusive these questions are intentioned to be, I'm not sure the results of what is said is that inclusive.
When I was growing up as the daughter of a teacher, I always felt really uncomfortable when kids at school would mock, make fun of or tell stories about teachers. I felt uncomfortable because I would think, 'Oh god, what if kids are doing that about my Mum?' I felt a sense of shame and also protection. Now as an adult and a teacher, I feel not so much shame, not so much a sense of protection but a sense of discomfort because I feel the conversations are not productive, they are not necessarily providing the best example and are not helping anyone learn. I feel discomfort because I feel there is no inspiration or warmth that I can take away. I feel discomfort because I feel for the teachers out there who are trying their best and turning up every day, for all the students who are also trying and want to be seen and valued and appreciated.
Everyone is allowed to have any conversation they wish and I acknowledge that some discomfort for me is also valuable and a teaching tool for my own growth. What I do not think is valuable though is conversation at the expense of someone else who has feelings, who has a story, who is doing their thing and getting out there. And what I think is lost is the real gold for all of us as teachers and students is that if you give an opinion, if you are mad or frustrated, upset, or angry, offer us an insight to what you think would help, offer us a way you think would be better, offer us some self reflection as to why you formed that opinion, offer us something to contemplate for ourselves, offer us a way you feel you can change the situation for the better.
Knowing a lot of teachers and having trained teachers, I know how much effort it takes for those individuals to train and show up everyday. Likewise for all the students I meet, they all have their own things going on, they all want a safe space to go to, to enjoy themselves, to connect and feel good. To all those teachers and students, here is a big virtual hug:-) Here is an acknowledgement that yes, sometimes we do not always get it right, sometimes we do not please everyone, sometimes we say the wrong things at the wrong times, sometimes we are silly and make mistakes and forget.
Sometimes we are all just HUMAN!
There is a false illusion online that all the happy people are all fit and perfect and strong, and in Yoga can do all these amazing physical poses...but it is an illusion. Happiness does not come as a result of those things and certainly does not come form judging others or seeing others as less than or not good enough.
As teachers, as individuals in our families, in our communities and in Yoga, it is our duty to speak truthfully, to take time to reflect and share. We do not need more opinions, we do not need more reactivity, we do not need more harsh comments. We need compassion, acceptance, kindness and most of all a good example to show us how.
Take yourself a step higher, spread a message of value to us, and again...to everyone out there doing it, GO YOU!