When I started sharing about my depression in yoga classes, a huge shift occurred – in me as a teacher, and in my connection with students. I’d always loved teaching prior to this – but this absolutely heart-breaking moment in class when I had to share my truth, it was the moment I stepped into MY power, as a teacher and sharer. I began teaching in MY voice. And you know what? People began responding, like never before.
I mean, yoga is phenomenal, and it has the capacity to change your life. But what’s the thing that makes your teacher, your teacher? For me, it’s when my teachers are different, when they’re honest, when they’re present. When they drop hints of themselves into class, rather than just regurgitating the same old stuff over and over again.
When I shared in class that I was in hospital with depression, and that I didn’t want to go to work or to teach or to be around people, that I literally had to sit and just slow down my bloody breath to get out of the house…. People would come up to me after class, with their eyes all shiny, holding back tears, and say “Me too”.
For someone who’s forever felt not good enough, and different, and separate, this made me speechless. And then it made me realise…. THIS, this is my path. This is my purpose.
Every now and then I get worried. Of course I do: You know, because while being public allows connection, it also opens one up judgement. Yes, I share about my depression online, and it’s real and it still affects me today. But it’s life, and the emails I still get from people out there confirm why I need to share what I know, and that this being human thing is at times fucking amazing, but at other times heart-shatteringly hard.
But my anxious mind often starts whirring – will this affect me in future jobs? Will this make people not like me? And then I take a moment, and call on my decades of therapy and reading and courses and yoga, to remind myself: yes, it might, but even more so, in the most powerful of ways, it will show me who I align with.
Brene Brown says: “If you think I’m going to clean up the truth, or put a spit shine on people’s honest experiences, you’re wrong. If you can’t handle me sayig “pissed off” or “bullshit” or if you need me to pretend faith doesn’t matter to me, I’m not your girl. There are lots of great teachers and speakers, you’ll just need to find one who will dress up, clean up and shut up. That’s not me. Not anymore.” Amen lady.
I’ve found huge shifts in my life lately – leaving jobs that I do not align with and with whom my values were at odds with, but in being brave and doing so, I’ve opened up space for dreams and kindness and good-hearted people to come on in. It’s scary but it’s empowering. It’s hopeful. And it takes me right back to my purpose. Hey, I’ve not spent years in therapy to put up with shit – mine or others. I’ve not spent years teaching and doing training and courses, to not practice my yoga - both on and off the mat. My struggle has a purpose. My efforts, shoot, ALL of our efforts, have a purpose. And it’s time to trust that.