I am feeling sad tonight.

A Year in the Life of a Yoga Instructor — By on March 19, 2010 2:34 AM

Hello everyone.  It has been a long week and I am very happy for the sun and Friday to finally get here.  AHHHH!  Some weeks more than others are harder to get through emotionally or physically.  Depends on what’s going on.  This week was an emotional one.  Not terrible but today was a rollercoaster of emotion in only a matter of a few hours. 

I teach at a drug and alcohol rehab center in Pennsylvania.  It’s an amazing job that I truly love.  It’s hard, filled with emotion and every day is a new experience.  The people keep changing so you never really know what you are going to get.  It goes in waves.  Some groups that are at the center are really negative and bring everyone down and some groups work together well and really work the 12 step program.  I teach yoga there four days a week and also teach a lecture on Thursday afternoons on yoga philosophy, nutrition, and better overall health.  Today’s lecture was on the Niyamas of the 8-fold Path of Raya yoga.  It’s a conversation on being content with your life as it is right now, it is a talk about cleaning up your life literally and figuratively, and it’s a talk about being more connected to your spiritual self.  It’s a lot of stuff that addicts probably don’t want to hear but need to so they can see how everything in their lives affect each other part. 

I give really good lectures, so says many people who come up to me after the talk.  It makes me feel really good that I am getting information out to everyone that is so important and might possibly help some of them.  I try and relate yoga philosophy to an addicts life and show them the relevance of why they are doing in yoga and how they can use it as a tool in their recovery process. 

At the end of the stay, for each individual at the center, they must fill out an evaluation form, asking them about everything from their counselor, to the food they ate and bed they slept in, to my yoga class and lectures.  I would say out of all the surveys, I receive rave reviews from about 90% of them.  I do receive negative reviews as well- stating everything from the fact that they hate me, my teaching style, my lecturing, that I dont know anything, that I am fat, that I am uneducated, that I don’t look like a yoga instructor- to give you some examples.  Those are only, maybe, 10% of the responses I get from the patients, yet those are the ones that I tend to focus on the most.  I know, I know, that’s silly.  But today I was tired physically from the week and then I read those evaluations and let it get the best of me.  I started feeling like a fat, depressed failure.  I know, a little dramatic, but that’s what I felt like by the time I left the center.

After my lecture, I had to go to my studio and teach my last class of the night before heading home.  I could barely stay awake- all that negative talk about me in those evaluations took so much energy out of me!  Part of being a yoga instructor is making sure that the students are receiving a fun, posture filled and relaxing experience when they take your class- no matter how terrible you feel.  You always have to go into every class with your game face on.  This night I just didn’t have the energy.  I shared my feelings and experience with the class who, as always, made me laugh and realize that life goes on and you learn from every experience to take it or leave it.

As a teacher, I think you get just as much out of your students as they get from you in some cases.  It is a wonderful exchange of great energy.

So a special thanks goes out to my Thursday night yoga class in Media, PA- (in order of how they appeared in class)- Bryn, Chappy, Jenna, Amy, Chris and Paul for making me feel loved again.  And to my boyfriend, Russ, for telling me what a great person and yoga instructor I am once I got home and explained to him what happened today.  Some days it is a necessity to hear loving things about who you are.  It reminds you to take life with a grain of salt and learn, through every experience, that you can’t control anything and you have to find the positive and fun in it all.


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  1. echoes says:

    not so many yoga teachers would have the strength to teach at a tough rehab center like you do~ its inevitable that some people’s addictions will clean out of their body with anger.
    and remember, even Buddha had people yelling at him, saying horrible things about him and spreading nasty rumors about him! *

  2. Kris says:

    Well while I do not have personal experience with your yoga style… I do know this… you are an amazing person, teacher and wonderful friend. Love you T!!!

  3. luke lindsay says:

    hi tina ! ive shared this with you before and i dont mind tellin you again ad again…your lecture and classes during my 28 day stay at mirmont made such a huge impact on me! i often several times per day use the tools you gave me from positive affirmation,and great meditation practices..i was there march 4th to april fools day of 2011.i also love comin in on tuesday evenings! you do a wonderful job!!!you are smart,kind,funny and beautiful..i am truly blessed to have met you! and so very grateful to be able to share in your positive energy!!!thank you ever so much!
    your friend,
    lukey l.

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