Taking a break from passion

I stepped away from the thing I knew I wanted to do most for the last few years. I quit teaching yoga a few months ago. I did not really understand why at the moment, and I still don’t.

Teaching yoga stopped feeling good. I had to start questioning something I never thought I would have to question before and it was scary.

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I was so sure that the yoga teaching - coaching - writing combo was my path. My holy trinity. I looked at other people who had no idea what they wanted to do and who they wanted to be and I was relieved because I had a “passion”, a “direction” and a “plan”. I counted on that to give me continuous sense of direction.

It came very natural.  I did a training when I was 20 and started teaching soon after, I got jobs, people liked what I was doing, I grew into it, taught a lot, made some workshops and started writing more, did a life coaching course, I filmed my practice and it was just fun.  I was in Belgium and I was home and I had momentum and people knew my name.

And then I moved. To another country where everything moved faster and my name meant nothing, where there were such a saturation of yoga teachers. I was so used to it going easy that I was overwhelmed and didn’t really know where to start. So I didn’t, not really. I kept it going just enough to convince myself that I was not giving up on this “passion”.

It stopped making sense. Teaching yoga made me tired, the networking to get jobs and the social media to self-promote that goes along with it were met with so much resistance that I chose to step away. I realized I was forcing it, because I decided at twenty years old that I liked yoga so I had to become a teacher and that was that. I realized I was teaching from the mindset I had five years ago and from the context of my life then.

Other parts of my life became so loud and started taking up more and more space  that I had no choice but to tend to them and give less attention to teaching or any other part of the combo. I lost a connection to who I was in the moment and how that related to giving classes that I was teaching more and more from an external source.  

I changed so much the last year that it was simply impossible for the yoga-coaching-writing work to not be affected by that. It was silly of me to think that I could keep going exactly like I did. That my goals and expectations would not be influenced by living life. It was kind of naive of me to think that the vision I had when I was 20, the one I thought I had written in stone, would never be altered.

I thought it was over for a bit, that if I could not live up to the picture I had before, I might as well not do it at all.  

But the funny thing is, in this hiatus I have practiced more, written more, experimented more with other elements like tarot, met people in real life, moved, changed jobs and reset the whole rhythm and structure of my day to day. Instead of using the tools to transmit to others, I made a nest for myself to work through the changes and questions of my own.  

And then BAM, I want to teach again.

My holy trinity did not go anywhere when I stepped away from consciously trying to decide what it should be. The “path” is not necessarily in the teaching and the coaching and the writing. It is in the practice of staying embodied,  living a life of essence and quality, with room for both experimentation and reflection. Yoga, coaching and writing are simply the tools, the means to an end, the best ways I have found to get access to the essential stuff .

The security of a passion is not about an exact configuration of how it is translated into works and jobs and external things.  It is simply about staying in alignment with the things that are true to you and about letting them evolve with you. And this, this right here, set me free.

I am realizing I did not let go of anything, I simply went “underground” and “internal”. Like an exhale after an inhale.  A reassessment and a clearing after 5 years of teaching and living so that what stays is true. So I can show up for that. without forcing. But simply giving. So I can write and share, without too much of a strategy, but simply from presence. So I can come back with new insights and clarity and enthusiasm.

I am teaching tomorrow, and I have a whole month in the Philippines planned where I will do nothing but teach and learn and grow. It is beginning again and I am ready.

I don’t have a plan, but I am so curious to this process and what will unfold. I am no longer attached to a specific way or outcome, to one style or numbers of classes and followers.  I am open to let it change and grow. I am open to let it come and go, to spiral up. I am open to listen to these doubts and how they show me the way.

I want to step back into teaching, writing and being here without setting anything in stone. I want to let it be the river that it is, that will change as I change, that will move as I move. I want to let it be an ocean even, let it ebb and flow, come and go, rush in and move away.

It is called a flow after all.

An-Sofie Mattelaer