What are your thoughts about becoming a teacher at an older age, and the associated physical limitations that will come with that? There is so much more to yoga than the physical aspect, but I don’t want to be viewed as an inferior teacher because I can’t do all of the pretzel or balancing poses.
Read Desirée Rumbaugh’s reply:
Yoga is about more than just what the physical body can do, as you yourself pointed out. It’s always possible to heal and make progress with the physical body as long as it’s done with knowledge and understanding of anatomy, physiology, and proper alignment. Your potential has less to do with age and more to do with biomechanics and breath.
To whatever extent any of us are willing to explore possibilities, information and guidance are available to us. Many of us who are now in our fifties and beyond are discovering how much we can do and how our bodies and minds can still change and grow. Remember also that many students are in the same place that you are right now; they will be strongly attracted to a confident older teacher who has learned how to manifest grace and contentment physically and spiritually.
The advantage of becoming a teacher when one is older lies in the maturity level and life experience that we can bring to our teaching. There is more power transmitted in the teachings of someone who has actually addressed neck and back problems than in the lessons of one who has only modified or avoided doing poses that call for more strength and mobility in these areas—or one who has never had to face the issue of these physical problems at all. That is why I love and teach Anusara. We are trained to discover why these areas have become limited and how to make changes in our practice that transform them. When this type of work is done, miracles happen. What inspires students is someone who can say, “I [or one of my students] had that problem and now I am [or they are] free of it.”
People trust someone who has been through some life experience and has learned and grown from it. What isn’t good is when an older teacher feels limited. That instills fear and is a big turn-off to students.
My point is that we all have to do our work sooner or later. That’s the real gift we bring to the role of yoga teacher: understanding what it takes to do our work.
Good luck to you as you follow your heart toward your true calling.