It's touching, beautifully written and full of hard won wisdom and insight. In a nutshell, it's a poignant account of what can happen when too much faith is invested, in this case in a spiritual teacher, and that trust is broken.
Betrayal is betrayal and it hurts. It hurts even more when it's the sucker punch that you never saw coming. Whether it comes at the hands of a guru, a spouse, a lover, a friend or a business partner, anyone who has ever been blindsided by broken trust knows just how devastating it can be.
Often, people decide to become yoga teachers, or studio owners, because they are unhappy in their former or current profession. They are tired of working in a world that's dog-eat-dog, and competitive and without scruples. They come to yoga professionally because they are dreaming of another way, a better way.
I've been doing this long enough to see a lot of starry eyed, enthusiastic new teachers deflate. The reality of the yoga world, which is that it is big and complex, comes crashing up against their idealistic, and unrealistic, expectations and they feel betrayed.
It happens all too predictably, which is why I plan to assign The Down Side To Down Dog as required reading to my teacher trainees, and why, before I graduate them, I will sit them down for the talk.
It goes something like this:
You have all done so well. You're standing on the threshold of something amazing and I'm beyond proud.
I would be remiss in my responsibilities if I didn't prepare you for the fact that in the big wide world of yoga, you will experience everything that you'll experience elsewhere in the big wide world at large. The good, the bad, the sublime, the calculating, the greedy, the stupid, the annoying and the ugly--all of it.
As a new teacher, you may not be prepared for a world in which success may seem to rely as much upon business savvy, politics, marketability, sex appeal and popularity as it does upon your skill, knowledge, talent, creativity and your genuine desire to serve.
Don't be shocked to discover that some very well intentioned studio owners opened their studio because they love yoga and may lack business acumen, organization and the ability to have an uncomfortable, direct conversation and to manage people well. They're not bad people. They're just bumbling around like the rest of us.
Even though you, yourself, are totally sane, you should know that an inordinate number of people who are drawn to yoga professionally are a little (or a lot) nuts. Yoga's tremendous capacity to heal means you'll find a lot of wounded people here. Wounded people do wacky shit. Being a true believer isn't the same as being firmly upon one's rocker. No offense. Hell, I'm slightly mad myself.
Be prepared: many yogis are still jockeying for their piece of the pie, and the pie here is smaller, so almost everyone is hungrier. Hungry people are threatened on a very basic survival level, which almost never brings out their best.
Don't be surprised to discover that some of the teachers you have looked up to, even idolized, are in actuality big preening douchebags. It happens.
Your fellow teachers may not be happy if your class is better attended than theirs is. If your numbers are booming, you might want to keep that to yourself.
I hope that isn't too discouraging. It's not pleasant but I thought I should be the one to tell you.
It's still the best job ever. I have meant every word I said.
Be prepared. When it gets ugly, do your best and be real.
Do your best the rest of the time, too.
You'll do fine.