Bad at Sangha (Community)
Competition among teachers is this icky, not often talked about fact of present day yoga. This is probably because it's a nice delusion we're above all of that because we are yogis. I don't think any of us are above it. I'm certainly not. Try as we might, it's hard not to be touched by competition and comparison in some way. Especially if we’ve had to wade into the tricky world of marketing. Some days it seems like my livelihood as a teacher depends on me convincing people that the mindful, bio-mechanically sound, trauma sensitive, open hearted, Kundalini snake coiled at the root of my pelvis is bigger than everyone else’s. For the record, it is not (although it is impressive).
Spoiler alert: like every other human being, most yoga teachers harbor the secret fear that we completely and utterly suck (Why? It's evolution. Neurobiology of Shame). While yoga and meditation can help us learn to work with this fear, we are all still triggered by it. On a clear day, I know that insecurity is universal. On an unclear day, it's only me. On a really unclear day it's only everyone else. Of course I want to be loved and accepted- it feels nice! And getting this want fulfilled by tons of people coming to my classes, liking my posts, and telling me I'm awesome is really tempting. Even when I know that pandering for attention turns me into a total pap of a teacher. It’s especially seductive if on that day I happen to have more attendees, likes, or comments than some other teacher. Then it gets downright juicy. It’s a nice quick fix for being human that generally last 3-5 minutes before I need another fix . Doing what I love for a living has proven to have unique challenges. Mainly that it’s hard to do anything out of pure love when my rent depends on it, and it’s downright impossible when my self-worth depends on it.
Our scrambling over one another to build ourselves up in this flooded market makes me sad- but it’s really no different than any other profession. I don't think any of us like it. I don’t think any of us know exactly what to do about it. Best solution I can come up with is to keep a compassionate eye on my own insecurities and try to play nice in the sandbox; “In my heart, there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.”
My practice inevitably always boils down to "don't be a jerk."