The confessions of one yoga teacherSep 19, 2022
By guest contributor, friend, and member of the Pause community: Anzari Atik
I wouldn’t say I enjoy teaching yoga, but I continue to do so. I haven’t met very many teachers that have openly shared that with me and the few people I have shared this information with, have either said “same” or “that’s a brave thing to say for someone who’s currently teaching”. The later comment makes me panic a little, my brain says ‘oh shit’ why would you share this information.
You know that moment where words escape your mouth and there’s no going back. But I wanted to share with you the ‘why’ behind why I continue to teach, in the hope that it allows others to share their experiences whatever that may be, openly without fear of judgment, and builds in some way the connection we all need. I read somewhere once, that being brave in sharing our truth allows meaningful connection.
When I first signed up to yoga teacher training, I had no intension to become a teacher. I just wanted to learn everything I could about a practise that I loved and one that connected my family. My sister was the first one in my family to do her teacher training and my mum quickly followed. For us, well for me at least, yoga was our connection, our mutual way of being. My sister took my mum to yoga when my grandma passed away and my mum drove me to yoga every Saturday when I was going through a messy divorce. It’s been the thread that connected us to each other and others.
When I finished my teacher training, teaching never crossed my mind, but I was offered to cover a class the week after I finished training. Being the person that never says no to a learning opportunity especially one that incites fear, I said yes! The theme of my first class was fear specifically the neuroscience of fear, which was fitting because I was so nervous, I made sure I didn’t wear anything that would show sweaty armpit patches. At the end of that class, I thought well that’s it I gave it a go and then didn’t pursue looking for studios to teach at. But one ‘yes’ led to another and now I’m teaching at a few different studios around Melbourne. I realised I didn’t enjoy teaching, when I had no excitement or enthusiasm for my teaching days. I work full time so my teaching times are usually after work or on the weekends. I now know that my lack of enthusiasm stems from the work that I put into each class which feels exhausting for my brain after work, not all the time, but sometimes. In addition to this the actual act of teaching requires holding space for people, which can be a lot even on the best of days (speaking for myself).
If you’re waiting for the why, here it is. When I was doing my teacher training, the incredible humans that taught me pushed me to find ‘me’ in my teaching and soon I realised my thing was neuroscience (always has been) so I started teaching with neuroscience themes based on published literature and started structuring my sequences around these themes. I loved giving people access to this knowledge without them having to try and understand scientific publications. I believe that understanding your brain allows you to work with it, rather than against it. This is one ‘why’. The other is that teaching has allowed me to connect with people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and it’s given me some incredible opportunities. I love the feeling of walking into a studio to teach, I love meeting new people, listening to their stories and mostly I love the feeling after I’ve taught, that rush of energy and joy. Importantly, teaching provides this deep sense of connection that I haven’t experienced with anything else. Teaching yoga so deeply feeds that connection for me that it far outweighs my lack of enjoyment for the actual act of teaching itself. With that, I leave you with this beautiful quote.
“Connection: The energy that exisits between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and recived without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”– Brene Brown
This post was written by Anzari Atik, learn more about her and where you can join her Yoga classes on Instgram via @anzariatik