Getting to Know Yourself

One of our yoginis, Susan Quilty shares her thoughts on the value of learning new things and, in turn, learning about yourself. Thank you, Susan!

In Northern Virginia, Autumn brings two special things: pumpkin spice everything, and a new group of students to IPY’s yoga teacher training. It’s been two years since I began my own teaching journey and it’s amazing to stop and consider how that experience has changed me.

My decision to sign up for teacher training at IPY was partly driven by fear. I’d reached a point where I was no longer content in my career. It was time to make some changes and I knew those changes would include risk and inevitable rejection along the way. What I wanted to do was clear, yet I was stuck in fear and too afraid to move forward.

Since my yoga practice had already helped me in so many ways, I decided to bring yoga into my career plans as well. If I could face the fear of teacher training, and the much larger fear of stepping in front of a class to put that training to use, I was sure that I would be ready to face anything.

When training began, I expected to learn about anatomy, yoga philosophy, and how to lead a vinyasa practice. I was not prepared for how much I would also learn about myself. Throughout training, we kept coming back to the idea of finding our own authentic voices. We learned to discover—and appreciate—what we each had to share as teachers.

This idea, as simple as it may sound, was a revelation. I had something of value to share that was individual to me. The true value of my teaching was not in leading a flawless class, but rather in sharing something of myself, and my experience, along the way.

Now that I’ve been teaching regularly for some time, I’ve discovered that leading a class requires a balance of vulnerability and confidence. I’ve learned to consider feedback with a willingness to improve, but without the compulsion to fit someone else’s ideal. I’ve found the courage to move forward and take chances to reach my goals.

In short, teaching yoga has taught me not only to face my fears, but to accept myself and value what I have to offer, both in and out of the studio.

~ Susan Quilty