I have had to let go most of my pet peeves when I go to public yoga classes. This has actually served me well, giving me the opportunity to be much more forgiving of myself from learning to be much more forgiving of others. At this point in my yoga career, I can pretty much overlook incorrect alignment cues -unless the alignment is such that it blatantly invites injury, which saddens me to say is not uncommon. I can work harder than I want to, to tune out teacher’s voices that are too loud, and I have gotten much better at tolerating rooms that are too dark.

But what makes me want to get up out of my downward facing dog and head home to my sleeping dog is when a teacher is not themselves. Oscar Wilde may not have been talking about yoga teachers when he said, “Be yourself, Everyone else is already taken” but he could have been. I will take a wacky teacher any day who’s real and has her own voice than one who tries to be Y.C. (yogically correct).

Teach from your experiences, not someone else’s. Make the teachings yours. Contemplate them, journal about them if need be, better yet….live them.

Here is what my beloved teacher Swami Jaya Devi taught me, that her Guru, Ma Jaya Sati Bhaghavati taught her:

“As a yogini, when you teach something without the wisdom of living it, it has no shakti.  It is mindy – it is just words that have no deeper essence behind them. When you live what you teach, as Ma says, it is an actuality, and people can feel that essence, that realness resonating on the soul level of their beings. People say that you can’t teach what you don’t know, but in yoga I would say you can’t teach what you don’t live.”