Three times now I’ve sat down to try write a post for my blog. My fingers fluttered over the keyboard and words appeared on my screen. What I’d written was pretty artificial.
The tones were more reminiscent of my sister’s blog (check it out). The content was modeled after my teacher, Amy’s, writings. Don’t misunderstand - I read both of their blogs and love what they have to say. However, when I put my own thoughts and feelings into their framework, it seemed disingenuous.
However, for the past two (almost) years this is how I’ve lived my life. I’ve been deeply immersed in studying yoga. I’ve been in Amy’s shadow, very deliberately watching what she does, how she does it, and what she says. I’ve been living in her framework.
Recently, I was teaching a themed class. As I talked about the theme, I could see that my students weren’t totally grasping, or maybe buying, the concept. I was frustrated because I love this theme. It’s a cornerstone of my yoga practice, and this past summer I wrote down what Amy said about it verbatim and reviewed it before class. Her words were beautiful, but when I said them, they lost their gravitas.
I realize, however, that this isn’t the first time it’s happened. I use Amy’s language all the time, and on the small stuff it’s all well and good. However, when it comes to themes or philosophy, what I’ve noticed is that sometimes her words slide out of my mouth roughly, like it’s resistant to pass through my lips.
Remembering the relative hollowness of the words I spoke, I can see that the power of Amy’s language comes from what I’ll call her “spiritual fingerprint,” the combination of her unique identity and history. She’s had time to see these yogic teachings unfold in her own life, and while she also learned these concepts from someone else, she’s had the chance to grow with them and observe them through the lens of her essential self.
I’ve been called an old soul, and perhaps that’s true, but I am chronologically young, and the big questions of yoga deserve time to simmer. I’ve learned a lot, but there’s a lot that needs to be assimilated through the processes that are inherent in the passage of time.
I’m not new to teaching yoga, but part of being a good teacher is continually realizing how much there is yet to learn. While I may not be able to articulate with these teachings with the same finesse (yet), what I do have is plenty of time. The lines of my spiritual fingerprint are still forming as my story and self-understanding unfold.