I wrote this post four months ago from a place of frustration. But, today, I had SUCH a release and revelation on my mat. I remembered why I really wanted to teach and I remembered why it was really important for me to do. My style is my story. And it resonates with who it is supposed to reach. For those of you who are trying to find your space, just be. That is your space and those who are supposed to be there with you will come. I am looking forward to sharing space with more of you.
Rev. Jim Whyte has went home to be with Jesus since this post sat in my drafts. And I got to see Rev. Marcia Whyte for the first time, face to face, in over twenty years. The timing is right. It just is.
When I was a teenager, my youth group at church had two youth ministers: Jim and Marcia Whyte. They were both vital to our group, both loved us unconditionally and both preached the Word of God. We never thought there was much difference, that is, until we noticed they were always referred to as Rev. Whyte and Marcia. Marcia, a powerhouse for God, was rarely acknowledged as a minister by members of our church. It was the craziest thing. I never understood it.
It seems sort of crazy that I would start off a yoga blog talking about my youth minsters. But just the other day, when my head was swarming with all of the stuff I had taken in at a yoga teacher meet up, I, immediately, looked in the mirror and said, “Wow! Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” (In my best Brady Bunch voice). But I realized she still preaches the Word. And I’m glad she does and she hung in there. Because I needed her. She changed my life. And, regardless of what people call me (or don’t call me), I’m going to hang in there because, well, there is someone like me who is going to step up because I did.
I have been teaching yoga for almost ten years. I have never had tea with Shiva Rea or skyped Rodney Yee. I do not speak fluent Sanskrit. I use music in my classes (Bob Marley, Liquid Mind, Miles Davis, Maxwell, Karunesh), I teach in a gym (and like it) and learned most of my earlier stuff on my own. I took A LOT of criticism for not being “Yoga Alliance Registered.” I spent a lot of time stressed out about not having the thousands of dollars to complete the trainings. And, after completing the “sacred” 200 plus hour training (and thank you, Kerry, because it was worth it but you, of all people, know EXACTLY what I mean), here’s what I found out:
I have so much to learn.
And so do a lot of other people who have “RYT” behind their name. Yoga is a process where you NEVER stop learning.
Because it “does” mean we have dedicated ourselves to the study of yoga for a certain period of time but you can STILL be a not-so-fabulous teacher with 200 hours and a great teacher without it. I have chosen to not worry about it anymore.
I have chosen to not worry about the people who look at me funny when I come into the room because I’m Black (let’s just put it on the table), because I’m not thin, because I like music with lyrics, because I teach other fitness classes, because there are no pictures/videos of my personal practice (and I am NOT saying anything is wrong with posting. I’m just saying for ME, I don’t like setting up cameras of my personal moments and I’m sure no one wants to see me cry in forward fold for ten minutes because, sometimes, that’s what my practice is) because, well, we all have a population to teach. Yoga is so personal. It has been such a part of my life and my community. It has been part of my healing. And I was so busy trying to make the rest of my yoga life stop hurting that I began to hate it. And when I started to hate yoga, I knew I had to dig deeper. The same way Marcia kept preaching is the same way I kept teaching. The people who were criticizing me weren’t my students. But those experiences became my teachers.
Yoga isn’t perfect moments of open hips with dolphins serenading us in the background. It’s about facing what is and learning to breathe in the process. And because I’m committed to the process, I’m taking all of me and putting it on my mat. Again and again. And I’ll make myself available for Shiva Rea anytime she wants to hang with me. 🙂