chronic illness, Chronic Yogi, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Health, imperfect yogi, interview, oms, perfect yoga teacher myth, sutras
Don’t you just love Cora Wen’s Yogi Imperfect talk? It dovetails very nicely with this post…
Yoga teachers. We’re a funny breed. Many of us teach for love, not money. But when teaching for money (i.e. doing it full time), then the love usually still comes first.
However, just because we teach yoga does not mean that we’re perfect. We might (or might not) be bendy, we’ve probably done endless downward dogs, sounded off with more oms than you can count and possibly read dozens of sutras and other yoga books. But that doesn’t mean we’ll always have impeccable health.
In fact some of us are Chronic Yogis – yoga teachers who live with a chronic illness of some kind. We’re more common that you might imagine.
This interview series is inspired by my own recent diagnosis of an autoimmune condition called “Hashimoto’s thyroiditis”. Sometimes I feel like crap, but I still love teaching yoga.
I’m undergoing a process of learning to be cool with my health issues, all the while being clear that it mostly doesn’t affect my ability to teach yoga.
So I’m featuring Chronic Yogis from all over the world in an effort to kick those “perfect yoga teacher” pedestals down…
We might not be perfect or perfectly healthy, but we can still teach yoga and hopefully our imperfections will help our own students be more accepting of themselves, too.
As each interview is published, I’ll include a link here so they’re all indexed together.
Chronic Yogi interviews
- Rachel Hawes
- Christine Claire Reed
- (more to come soon!)
Are you a Chronic Yogi? Wanna be a part of this series?
I’ve sent out a bunch of emails to yoga teacher friends and fellow bloggers. But I’m sure there’s more of us out there than I know!
So if you’re a yoga teacher with a chronic health problem and you’d like to be involved, then I want to interview you, too!
A chronic health problem is generally any disorder that persists over a long period and affects physical, emotional, intellectual, vocational, social, or spiritual functioning.
This can include all sorts of conditions such as depression, mental health imbalances, diabetes, epilepsy, ME/chronic fatigue, auto-immune disorders and many more.
If this is you, and you also work as a yoga teacher, I’d be honoured if you would consider participating in my interview series.
Just get in touch at: svasti108[at]gmail[dot]com
carolyn, laughing yogini said:
Svasti, I LOVE this whole idea and wish you well with it…though am sad to learn of your “disorder.” I hope that you can use it to push deeper ~ physically and spiritually etc etc….Though I prolly wouldn’t say anything good about my back when it goes “out” as it has off and on during the past 25+ years, I AM grateful that it has pushed me in asana practice and teaching during the past 10 years ………….because whenever I stop ~ BINGO ~my back starts acting up again. And I remember how quickly I can turn into a cripple again.
I really love your attitude toward yourself and your body. Thank you for spreading the goodness!
Y is for Yogini said:
yes! been waiting for this series! 😀
Sunny Maya said:
I am not a yoga teacher. We massage therapists have exactly the same problem. Read on for my story. Warning, it is long.
I live with severe spinal arthritis at age 52. Originally, I wanted to become a yoga teacher, but was turned away because of severe spinal inflexibility. I thought the central abilities were mindfulness and compassion.
Evidently not. Then I applied to massage school and was also turned down for the same reason. My arms and legs have excellent strength and mobility and I knew that I could do massage, so I offered the school upfront
cash payment in full for the whole two year course. Surprisingly, they accepted me as a student and said that the “last space” in our class just opened up for me. Two years later I graduated and passed my entrance exams. I worked for myself at home as a massage therapist for over 20 years now. The same issue of my back still plagues me, it is difficult to get new clients when they assume because the way I look and move that I can’t give them a strong deep massage. I have a website to help overcome that image problem. It helps but not quite enough. If I did not have a working husband, I could not afford to be a massage therapist. So I am fun-employed. Even after 20 years of massage, I still enjoy giving massages, and enjoy helping people. Now my arthritis, is growing into my spinal cord, and spinal nerves at multiple levels giving me spinal symptoms into my arms and legs, which I depend on. My doctor has seen my M.R.I. and has referred me to a neurosurgeon, which could take six months to a year to just get in: the Canadian health care system at work! Next, I want to be a meditation teacher and not charge students, but ask that they donate to my neighbours, a troubled youth home. I have been meditating on my own since I was 16 years old, when I started yoga. My husband is beyond pissed off with me because of my inability to “get a job”. Life is fun.