This phrase never rang truer than it did when I become a mom. And then I became a yoga teacher. And then, a kids’ yoga teacher. Now there is no turning back.
Anyone who has any experience at all with kids knows this: Kids’ will call you out on everything. There is no hiding, pretending, or acting. Kids’ see the truth (how beautiful is that) and they won’t let you get away with anything less. If they sense you are not being honest or real you’ll know it: they will act out, act up, speak up, or bounce off the walls. That lack of being real creates chaos for them. Authenticity, honesty, and genuine love keeps them interested, grounded, and allows them to fly.
Authenticity is the key word. To truly be an impactful yoga teacher, you have to be authentic. To be a truly impactful parent (or friend, or spouse, or partner, or boss, or co-worker...) you have to be authentic. Be yourself. And practice whatever it is you preach. Authenticity creates an atmosphere of truth. Truth creates trust. Trust creates safety. Safety enables kids and adults to be creative, explore beyond their comfort zone, and TRY! It also enables us all to love.
As long as you are being honest and real and teaching or sharing something you truly live and believe, every class you teach (clumsy or flawless) will be powerful. Your parenting will be effective. Your relationships will be deep and strong and rewarding. This includes admitting when you don't have the answer, owning up to mistakes with humor and humility, and
Let me give you an example.
Question: You arrive at your 4:30pm kids’ yoga class and you are exhausted and under the weather. You try to go through your lesson plan but the kids are restless, unfocused, and frankly, naughty. What do you do?
Answer: Be authentic. Tell the kids you don’t feel well and is there something they would like to do to help structure the class (you can offer two choices and have them pick). By being upfront with them but still maintaining control of the class flow (but letting them think they are directing), you give kids the opportunity to be kind, understanding, and helpful. Something it is good for all of us practice every day. Your class may not be the masterpiece you wanted to present, but you will be effective. And that is what parenting and being a teacher is all about.
So next time you are not reaching your kids, your friends, your partner, your little yogis, or your adult yoga practitioners, take some time to do more than evaluate your lesson plan, or yoga sequence, or relationships. First check and see if you are able to present your little yogis a class you believe in. Check and see if you are parenting with honestly and consistency. Check and see if you are relating to your kids and family and yogis with authentic communication. In short: Practice what you Preach! Everything else will flow from there.