On vulnerability, building + breaking boundaries, and chance-taking to craft your life and become “teacher”.
Those who practice yoga understand weightlessness, the equilibrium of calm and charge and the overwhelming desire to pay it forward. Teaching is no easy feat and undoubtedly evokes healthy doses of imposter syndrome and comparison paralysis. You’re not alone; in fact, the opposite. Nervousness is natural, and venturing into uncertainty beyond four walls is understandably daunting, and abundantly rewarding. Virgil says, “Fortune favors the brave”.
You’re in the right place.
For many, the concept of purpose and creating the life we want is the motivation that keeps us going, manifesting and doing, the ultimate measure of success. At least, that was my story. The one that took me from suburban Ontario to the opposite end of the world and everywhere in between. I’m sitting adjacent to the Pacific as I write this, vast clear blue in my peripherals; a luxury and irony to be within literal steps from the same ocean I romanticized in my adolescence.
In 2015, during a uni semester abroad in Australia, the travel bug bit. After securing a practical degree, I mapped out where to go next. Volunteering in Namibia taught me the value of a dollar and the impact of education. Before traveling, I worked as a program leader in a subsidized day camp, empowering youth in self-acceptance and social literacy. Influenced by helping others and dissatisfied with a linear existence from one milestone to the next, I sought community in distant places and opted for wildlife over wifi. In the obscurity of self-discovery, yoga teaching became a clear path for me, combining movement, mindfulness, giving back and moving forward.
I completed my RYT 200 in an ashram in rural India in 2017. I learned yoga as a state of being, integration and harmony between thoughts, feelings and deeds. Early in the course, my instructor asked us to add to a near-overflowing water bowl without spilling any. Confusion panned the room of fellow students as we mulled over the impossible task.
How? Well, you can’t.
From this, I learned authenticity, vulnerability, and acceptance are the foundation of being a successful teacher, acknowledging imperfections and admitting unknowingness; you can’t fill a full bowl without emptying some first.
When in doubt, remember these words shared with me: If you want to help someone, you are already the best teacher. Honesty and kindness build trust and connection, the criteria for being someone others want to learn from.
Yoga Trade provided a foundation of community and opportunity for my desired life; in 2018, I connected with Ngalung Kalla. The off-grid permaculture retreat in Sumba, Indonesia, soon became home; the Sea family and staff became an extended family. Beyond teaching yoga, I developed my surfing and understanding of regenerative farming. I learned the native language to engage with locals and respectfully gain meaningful community; after two months in Indonesia, I’d have a fluid conversation. The momentum from that first experience led to others and contributed to my personal growth, identity and confidence in teaching.
Along with my lived findings, studies explore why more people frequent the road less traveled and suggest the travel experience enhances self-efficacy, authenticity and fulfillment. Not to mention a critical perspective on simple living, sustainability and how little we need.
Explore more, experience wholly, make mistakes and use what moves you to move others.
Amidst teaching, I continued learning. While traveling, I volunteered for relief initiatives and led programs for youth on the importance of empathy and the underrated ness of emotional intelligence.
From my experience as a traveling yoga instructor, leader and human, I’ve rendered the best results, not by claiming to know it all, but with humility, kindness and steadfast curiosity.
Amanda is a writer, surfer, yogi and naturalist based on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. She advocates equality and sustainability and explores candid introspection, connecting with like-minds perceiving life through travel. Originally from Canada, Amanda has traveled for 8+ years to 23+ countries, residing, volunteering and teaching yoga.