Why Yoga Teachers Get Injured, Stressed and Sick

Yes Yoga Teachers do get injured, stressed and sick!

I’m getting fed up of backlash and opinionated people in the yoga community, and of the preconceptions and misconceptions of yoga teachers.  I’m not even going to get into the bitchiness within the yoga teacher community, usually in America, and what poor yogis like Kino MacGregor have gone through due to a back injury.  What I would like to do is break down some misconceptions about yoga teachers that have annoyed me over the years.

So just to be clear, if you are a yoga teacher you always look amazingly healthy and energetic with perfect posture and a perfectly balanced body and mind.  You don’t age, eat or drink ANYTHING remotely considered unhealthy, swear, do drugs, take medication, go to bed late, get ill, suffer from muscle tension, get stressed, angry, impatient, depressed or ever be in a bad relationship.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the rules, but basically: you epitomize vitality, peace and happiness and of course you are incredible in bed!

On that note, about 7 years ago I had a client who started to act out some of her intimate positions on her yoga mat while asking me for advice on how to better her love life.  OK so to begin with we are not, most of us, doctors.  We are not professors or necessarily experts in anything in particular, especially sex, so please stop expecting us to have the answer to every health or medical issue you are experiencing.  I can give you advice from my knowledge and experience but yoga teachers do not have a miracle cure from every ailment or problem.  And just because we meditate and regularly practice yoga does not mean we don’t get sad, angry or sick!

Yoga teachers are human beings.  We’re not perfect and we’re not immune to normal life or to getting things wrong. 

Last week I bumped into a client as I left the supermarket munching on a large bar of chocolate that I’d been craving.  You should have seen how shocked her face was as she actually said “I never imagined you eat chocolate”!  And when I got a cold last year one of my clients remarked “But I thought yogis never get ill”.  The fact that I admit to enjoying a cold glass of rosé wine is also met with much surprise and shock, although most say it ‘humanises’ me!

Just like the rest of the world yoga teachers can get the same injuries and problems from normal daily activities.   We get wrinkles, cellulite and muscle tension.  I’ll admit I sprained my arm once in bed with my husband, broke my foot saving a cat, and recently herniated a disc in my lumbar from coughing!  All ‘normal’. And if you’re teaching, demonstrating and assisting all day without the time to fully re-balance your body by the end of it, then you’re likely to feel it the next day.  And even if we suffer less, long airplane flights, car journeys or hours at a desk will still take their toll.  Recently however, it’s reminded me that a common mistake yoga practitioners make is working more on stretching and not enough on strengthening. We’re always learning, every day.  And now I’m working on strengthening my lower back…

Most yoga teachers aren’t spiritual monks wondering through India or Tibet.  We’re average people who are trying to bring the benefits of an ancient practice to the mindset and lifestyle of our society.  We’re human and we make mistakes, so please stop expecting us to be ‘perfect’ all the time and have all the right answers.

We have bad days, catch colds, get wrinkles, have accidents, make mistakes, swear, get sick, get spots, sometimes eat or drink rubbish, get annoyed, depressed, anxious, bored and stressed.  We don’t ALWAYS feel, look and act fantastic or like getting on our mat to do our practice.  And I’m pretty sure we’re not all amazing in bed!

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