Yoga teachers are an odd bunch—it’s true there are many MANY different approaches to the practice, but most genuinely want to share this amazing practice that we’ve fallen in love with with as many people as possible. The problem is, sometimes we get so wrapped up in our practice, we’ve lost touch with reality. We forget what it was like to have no idea how completely ridiculous our jargony, yoga speak can seem to those who have not been initiated. Nowhere is this more rampant than in the yoga teacher bio section on every yoga studio website, well, everywhere.
The New Yorker recently picked up on the ridiculousness and poked a little fun at entrepreneurial yoga teachers in this gem. (If you haven’t ready it yet, do yourself a favor and read it now. I can’t stop laughing at it.)
Truth be told, most yoga teacher bios really don’t tell us anything about who a teacher actually is or what to expect in her class. Instead, they most tell us what that teacher thinks we would like to hear, or what might impress us or intrigue us enough to show up at his next class.
Well, teachers. I’m calling BULLSHIT.
How can we teach from a place of authenticity if the face we show to the world (our bio blurb) is just a list of yoga celebrities we’ve studied with and meaningless certifications? It’s not doing you any favors, either. Other than your yoga pals, nobody gives a FLYING F**K if you studied with Baron Baptiste, trademarked your own yoga and boot camp mashup, were on the cover of Yoga Journal, or have 156,000,899 followers on Instagram. Your potential students (the ones who might actually take time to read your bio) care what your actual classes might be like and whether or not you’ll embarrass them in front of the whole class when they can’t figure out how to do the poses in proper alignment. They probably also want to know if you’ll be able to talk to them using language they can actually understand, which, you know, is kind of an important quality for a teacher.
So, with that in mind… this is what my yoga teacher bio should REALLY say:
Erica loves yoga so much it’s infectious—or really annoying, depending on where you’re sitting. Really. It’s like she just can’t stop doing it, talking about it, reading about it, writing about it, teaching it, and applying it to everything she does. She’s studied many different styles of yoga, and she draws on those styles as inspiration, but really just teaches whatever the hell she wants to in the moment. Erica has been teaching yoga for a really long time, but she still mixes up her left and right at least once in every single class she teaches. Every one. If that bothers you, stay far far away. Her goal is to make yoga challenging and bring greater awareness to both body and mind. She also tries to keep it light hearted, which means she weaves in lots of corny jokes that aren’t that funny and laughs at herself when she screws up her sequences (which, as I’ve already noted, happens often). She talks incessantly about her daughter and the adorable yogic lesson she learned the last time she refused to take a nap. Other than that, she’s a really good teacher, who cares a lot about her students, most of whom she considers dear friends when she’s away from the yoga studio.
Note: This image was taken years ago when Erica was younger and less wrinkly and grey. Even then it was probably Photoshopped just a tad.