Finding Your Unique Voice as a Yoga Teacher
Today I had the opportunity to speak with Jessica Boylston Fagonde, a woman who has profoundly impacted my own life in the past year and whose work has shifted the trajectory of my own reach as a yoga teacher. I asked Jess if she would do an interview with me as part of my pilot project for my online yoga teacher’s development course because the work that she is doing in the world is so perfectly in alignment with my own offerings and I knew she would spark the vision of the yoga teachers who were on the call. Jessica is one of the most passionate people I know and what is so fantastic about Jessica’s passion is that it is the direct result of connecting to her own unique purpose, stepping into her own power, and getting over her own fears about putting herself out there and sharing her message. This is such a key point for all yoga teachers out there who are feeling disempowered to understand. We go to school and study hard, we do our practices and hone our craft so that we can gain some skill in sharing the practice of yoga with others, but if we don’t articulate what we have learned and experienced from an authentic and personal reference point then the impact of what we are sharing is lessened. Until we are able to really own what we know, no matter what part of the journey we are on -and let’s be clear here that the evolutionary journey of yoga is never ending!- then our intentions of supporting and serving others, of initiating a shift in the perspective of our dear students will lack power.
But what does it mean to step into our own power? And how do we find our own unique voice? Well as Jessica said so beautifully in our conversation today it means owning your whole story. It may even mean allowing yourself to be vulnerable. It means welcoming back into wholeness all the aspects of yourself that you may have thought were less than holy or not relevant to your work as a yoga teacher. It means befriending those aspects of yourself that you may see as faults or shortcomings so that when you share the teachings of yoga they filter through the wondrous prism of your total life experience.
Now if that sounds terrifying just consider the fact that the teachers that have inspired you the most in your life allowed themselves to do just that. Because we learn from each other. We are inspired by each other’s stories and we are most often propelled into action when we find resonance with someone else’s experience. I can personally think of a number of key moments in my life when my teachers spoke a word or a phrase that dropped into my heart with such power it’s as if the message was meant only for me, and the depth of that exchange was enough to change the course of my life in an instant. That exchange can only occur when the teacher is speaking from their heart. And to speak from our hearts we must be intimate with ourselves and we must be operating from that place of intimacy, authenticity, and even vulnerability.
If you are a yoga teacher I urge you to reflect on the greater purpose behind all that has led you to where you are now, in this exact moment in your life, and to ask yourself if there is anywhere that you are holding back from sharing the full story of who you are with your students, your community, your loved ones, and anyone else you come into contact with? And just to be very clear I don’t mean that you should start sharing the nitty gritty details of your life to everyone you come across I am simply urging you to make your offerings to the world from a place of wholeness. Why? Because I truly do believe that there is purpose behind you. There is a message that is meant to be delivered through you. And the sooner you can begin to allow the teachings to be expressed through the entirety of your experience the sooner that message can be delivered to those who are meant to receive it. The sooner you can make the impact you are meant to be making in the world.
And if you are not a yoga teacher but are considering becoming one I am here to encourage you because the world needs your vision and your light and this is an exciting time to be stepping into the yoga teaching world as there are a wealth of support networks to assist you and the resources you will have available to you are growing by the day. There is a huge shift happening in the yoga world right now as the old models of doing business are dissolving and newer, more collaborative, more inclusive models are being explored. These are exciting times and I am delighted to know that when I train a new yoga teacher I can send them out into the world knowing that they will be held and supported by the industry in a way that simply wasn’t available before. This is important to me and for that reason I applaud all the visionaries like Jess who are sharing their message with yoga teachers and light workers around the world making the world a brighter place and empowering people everywhere.