As the blood quickly escapes from my face and my eyes begin to glaze over in a blank stare, the words keep echoing back and forth in my head, “What do you do for a living?” I have no idea how to answer. Should I tell them about my long-standing career designing houses? No, probably not. I can’t tell this person that I’m a yoga teacher, either. I hear myself slowly sputtering out the words, “I’m trained to teach yoga, but I don’t teach. I used to design houses.” Wait! What? No, I didn’t want to say that.

You see, I’ve been traveling a lot. I left my career to become a traveling yogi, sort of. Now, I keep using the excuse that I’m not teaching yoga because it’s hard to find a place to teach when you are always somewhere new. That’s not entirely true. I’m actually embarrassed to use the words “yoga teacher” to describe myself or my profession. This is not what I signed up for.

I received what I consider to be top-notch 200-hour teacher training. I loved every second of it. Others from my training are already teaching. So why am I not teaching?

Why I'm embarrassed to call myself a yoga teacher

Something didn’t sit right with me during my training. We were told to imitate other teachers until we can innovate into our own style. This is something that is fairly normal in the yoga world. Would you send someone off to train for a month and then expect them to come back and teach kindergarten? You know: coloring, ABCs, and 123s. No, that would be ridiculous. That’s four years of education. So why is it an acceptable standard of practice for a yoga teacher to train for a month and then magically have the ability to teach people things slightly more complex than ABCs and 123s? Like anatomy and alignment, proper breathing techniques, posture modifications, transforming mindset, and moving people into relaxation…

I don’t deny that there are many fantastic teachers out there who do very well with the 200-hour training. But, it’s not enough for me. Who decided that 200 hours was sufficient training to safely and effectively lead a group of people into life changing transformations? Maybe I’m a perfectionist who isn’t comfortable with the phrase “fake it till you make it”. I believe paying clients deserve a better standard of care. I believe I deserve a better quality of education.

I am hopeful that someday I will be proud to call myself a yoga teacher. But until that day comes, I am busy with more training, more workshops and educating myself in things like psychology, stress, depression, brain function, happiness, and life itself. The goal of yoga training was never a career choice for me, it was a life choice. The path of yoga has created a spark in my life that leaves me craving more knowledge. It leaves me seeking answers to questions I never thought to ask. It has made me want to be a better person.

So don’t be offended after you have excitedly proclaimed that I can teach you and your friends yoga at your hostel and I say, “No, thank you.” Understand that just like the airplane guidelines, I must put on my own air mask before assisting others. When I have acquired enough air to breath and knowledge to share, I will be a yoga teacher.

I can’t be the only one who wants more from a yoga training? What are your thoughts? Do you share my feelings or do you think I am completely out to lunch?

pbr