Claiming Your Identity as a Yoga Teacher

Claiming Your Identity as a Yoga Teacher


A personal story about taking action, claiming your identity as a yoga teacher, and the magic of time.

From Desert Seas to Songs of the Jungle:

The Sahara was once a deep and vast tropical ocean, teeming with aquatic life. Its once brazen waters, kindred to today’s equatorial oceans, now only survived by ancient fossils you can purchase from roadside shops full of dust…the lingering scent of a well-cooked tagine in the air. Interesting what the ravages of time can do to a place.

I am writing this after a year-long sabbatical that started with spoken words. Words have magical powers (I was warned about that reading the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz). 

In a candlelit room, during my 200-hour training, I unknowingly uttered a spell, “I feel guilty saying this, but I want to teach yoga, so it can open the doors of travel to me. I just don’t know if that’s a good enough reason to teach.” 

I was staring straight at our mentor Jenny, afraid of what such an accomplished yoga master would think. But it was the truth. She chuckled as her eyes danced, and she said, “why not?” And just as her eyes danced, I spent the next few years dancing with this possibility.

The Yoga Trade membership was a recurring payment and the emails sat in my inbox. I did travel; short trips where the resident yoga teachers in Bali and Central America dazzled me, always the spectator. California was home, and comfortable. Here, I could teach within the walls of my home studio and keep my full-time office job. A lovely stepping stone, but this was not exposing me to the challenges and unique interactions of travel.

Too many days passed where I was simply wading in my own murky puddles of hesitation. In fact, there was a time when I almost gave up on the idea of yoga and travel. It took heartbreak and a final “imposter” trip to Central America to kick me out of the nest. 

“A lovely stepping stone, but this was not exposing me to the challenges and unique interactions of travel. Too many days passed where I was simply wading in my own murky puddles of hesitation.”

Surfboards in storage, personal possessions sold, I left California in my rearview mirror. My black RAV4 singing goodbye to the golden coast. Trusting someplace far away would accept me, where the waves danced and smiled.

Yoga Trade took me to Morocco. Surf, check. New culture, check. Yoga teacher? No check, that’s me! I’m the resident yoga teacher. Imposter syndrome creeping in…but I had honed my craft for years now; three trainings and hundreds of students. It was time to embrace my new identity: The traveling yoga teacher.

And somewhere between our morning practice on the beach, sharing adventure in the surf, and sampling the flavors of a completely new culture, time allowed me to tell a new story. I allowed my classes to turn into workshops, into new experiences.

One day, I even taught a class that was part English, part Spanish, part French…part Darija (Go to Morocco!, I promise you will learn more of the language than me). It is a place where you leave with a longing for speaking new tongues, for Morocco is a melting pot of Arabic, Berber, European, Saharian, and Tuareg cultures. 

“Yoga teacher? No check, that’s me! I’m the resident yoga teacher. Imposter syndrome creeping in…but I had honed my craft for years now; three trainings and hundreds of students. It was time to embrace my new identity.”

So, with a belly full of couscous and multiple weeks of retreats, I had to keep going. Perhaps at this point, I felt like a half-imposter. As I meandered through Europe…I found out I could keep doing this.

From an artist and musician retreat center in Basque country to singing mantra with four petits enfants, I embraced this new identity. Traveling. Yoga. Teacher. Oh, but yoga can be other things as well: gardening, taking care of chickens and goats, teaching English classes, photography, or playing in the mountain snow. Each class, each project, unfolding a new aspect of my identity.

This entire process came full circle one evening, chanting, and singing songs in the jungles of Costa Rica. My final residency of the year, my final project. One glorious month teaching asana, meditation, breathwork, and living in community. And to add a cherry on top, a natural beauty workshop idea that came to me one silver light morning.

Who am I? Who on earth is this person helping co-create a program? As I sat bobbing in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, I realized I am who I so badly wanted to be years and years ago, those free women and men. Oh, how I pined to be like them, moving gracefully from place to place as spirit called them.

I had lived, breathed, bled, ached, and burned to end up in this identity. Truth be told, I literally did burn in Costa Rica, on the exhaust cylinder of a two-stroke bike. I’m not one for bringing souvenirs home, but the universe gave me this one. A reminder of how I finally claimed my identity. (Traveler tip: Always get off on the left side of a motorcycle). 

“As I sat bobbing in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, I realized I am who I so badly wanted to be years and years ago, those free women and men.”

My story is just one in a million. Please, go and claim the identity you want to embody. Be proud of yourself. Through these words I am passing the torch onto you. And it can start with a yoga class offered to your fellow co-workers or a hand-picked Yoga Trade experience. But if prehistoric desert seas and dense, vibrant jungles are in your horizon…know that it will work out. After all, I made it out alive!  

Time is a beautiful, mystical, and powerful force, close your eyes and in an instant, it will transform you. Places, people, and experiences you never imagined. It has the power to turn a tropical ocean into a mesmerizing desert and can probably turn it back. So now imagine what a powerful tool it can be in your own life. 

“Time…It has the power to turn a tropical ocean into a mesmerizing desert and can probably turn it back.”

 

A big thank you to: 

Yoga Trade!

Azrac Surf in Morocco

Santa Maria in Pays Basque, France

My host families in France

The community at the Yoga Farm in Costa Rica

Maggy Torres

Maggy Torres

Maggy is a yoga teacher, healer, and an advocate for human and environmental rights. She teaches as she travels and works with grassroots nonprofits in Guatemala that empower indigenous communities. Her passions include surfing, photography, and writing. She has studied and trained for seven years to have a deep understanding of asana, meditation, breathwork, and the Akashic records. If you are interested in learning about her offerings and her transformation program, you can contact her through her website: https://www.maggytorreshealing.com

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