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Poem that is a Yoga Teacher Rant


It turns out my new shoes make my feet stink. 

I didn’t know until there I was, barefoot 

in front of a group of students. 

Not that many people go barefoot 

in a professional setting but I do. Yoga teachers do. 

It’s bad enough that my feet show my age, 

As much as any part of me, probably, 

From years of going barefoot, you know, because Yoga teacher. 

And I’m feeling my age these days, let me tell you what.

Feeling used up and wrung out like a tattered kitchen towel 

overdue for the rag bag.

But usually it’s when teaching that I feel redeemed. 

Teaching yoga is not my very favorite thing to do - 

It’s hard, even grueling. The pay is shit, 

And it seems to be getting worse as I get 

older, maybe because of the 

backwards way that yoga has become 

a youth-obsessed culture driven by 

celebrity 

and fashion 

and fueled by the 

insecurity and self hate of 

Millions, so that a yoga teacher’s life as it evolves is one 

where you better be 

beautiful enough, or savvy enough 

to get the fame gigs 

Because if not your day-to-day grind will 

Wear you down 

And as you become less and less photogenic, 

Less and less the object of younger women’s fixations 

with comparison and self abuse, you will also become 

Less employable, 

Easier and easier to cast aside. 

Then you’ll be shit out of luck, with no other skills, 

your body ravaged by overwork and poverty. 

Then peri-menopause hits and suddenly you 

stop sleeping and

start to pee yourself, and now you’re 

treading water but badly, gasping for breath in 

a sea of low level panic and urine. 

You haven’t had sex in months and you 

hardly recognize your practice, that thing which 

gave you so much joy you dedicated your 

fucking life to it, not because you wanted to 

share it with others so much as because you wanted to

Marry it yourself, wanted to 

Bind yourself irrevocably to your practice. 

so you couldn’t ever be too busy 

Or too tired, so that you’d have to

rally your spirits, over and over 

To practice another day. 

And you did, and you do, 

And instead of keeping your body young and strong, 

After decades of soul crushing money stress 

And the betrayal of colleagues you thought were friends, 

and forging ahead alone for a survival wage - 

Young and strong is a ship that has sailed. 

But it has made you smarter about practice, about life. 

Wiser even. You’ve been compelled to get 

More creative 

To dig deeply into the meat of the thing that 

Self inquiry Is, the thing that 

Active engagement with the question of being is. 

And for that you have managed to stay afloat in this 

Brutal industry of 

Oneness 

And universal love, 

If only just barely. 

The thing is, it’s the teaching itself

That will usually lift my aching spirits 

Because it feels useful. 

Because it doesn’t matter that my life is falling apart, 

When I’m able to show others how to find 

Their strength, how to perceive themselves as 

Holy and precious. 

When I am a purveyor of self acceptance 

And peace, 

That is enough. 

But tonight, as I taught, speaking slowly because 

Exhaustion, mispronouncing words not because they were 

New or hard but because 

A part of my brain was asleep already 

At the late hour of 7:45 pm, 

Tonight, as I taught, I could smell my stinky feet. 

And any sense that I was pulling it off, 

This charade of my capability, this pretense that 

I might be worthy of success - not fame or wealth 

But just getting by - 

A relic in the 

Land of the new, 

Fell flat on its shabby ass.

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