In this video I give you 3 tips and 2 actions steps to overcome the feeling that you are a fraud teaching yoga.
You’ve been teaching for 3, 5, or even 10 years already. Every once in awhile you get this debilitating feeling that makes you question why you are here? I don’t mean on the planet, but in the front of the room with 2, 10, 20, or 40 human beings listening to every word you are saying like a game of simon says.
Yeah it’s incredible, and powerful, and at times nauseating. There is a reason so many teachers and their egos have fallen to the great power trip this path can lead us down.
For MOST of us - the well meaning, good hearted who got into this work to serve others - this power is overwhelming at times. It can lead to a common affliction called imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. 'Imposters' suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. Definition provided by Harvard Business Review
I remember when I first starting teaching yoga I would experience this every time I stood up in front of a room filled with people waiting for me to lead them to some magical land of sweat and absolute liberation. I was 25 - what did I know about liberation? Nothing.
Here’s the deal you don’t have to be a swami, a great sage, or a even an experienced yoga teacher to get over the deep felt pangs of imposter syndrome.
3 tools to keep in your back pocket for the next time that imposter creeps into your head ::
Focus on what you can give them. Chances are you know more about downward facing dog than anyone else in the room. Be where you are and teach what you know. If what you know is fundamental yoga asana - teach fundamental yoga asana the best you can.
Stop comparing yourself to your teachers. It’s great to have inspirations and people who’ve walked the path before you, but they’re not perfect either. If they aren’t a complete narcissist they’ve experienced this feeling of being a fraud at times too. Stop the comparison-itis. You can never be like anyone else, because you were born to be you!
Get over yourself. Part of the imposter syndrome is that we actually think we are more important than we are. The truth is once Savasana comes the students will forget all about your expert explanation of trikonasana or that time you forgot to do half moon on the second side. Many people that are crippled by imposter syndrome are trying to be something they aspire to be, but haven’t quite gotten there. Again you’re not a swami, a sage, or Oprah. Just be you; be open and vulnerable. Students are drawn to authentic teachers they can connect with, not the ones putting on some show. It might seem counter intuitive for me to tell you this, but you’re not a unicorn and that’s OK.
Bonus Action Steps ::
Email 3 students and ask them why they take your class. What do they like about it? And why do they keep coming back? Keep these email replies in a special folder and when you feel the imposter monster rearing it’s head look to these notes for instant validation.
Teach for free! Seva! Go out in the world and teach yoga to those who can’t afford it. You’ll feel appreciated and those you serve will be grateful for your gift.
Click on over to the Yoga Business Kula Facebook Group; you can connect with lots of other yoga teachers who've been there and understand the demon of self-doubt.