I’m not a yoga teacher.
Turning the way that I do business upside-down has come with its challenges. For years I have simply called myself a yoga teacher. Over these years, I have grown as a person, and as a result, my teaching style and approach on the mat have evolved as well.
I can still remember finally being brave enough to show up to another yoga teacher’s class, who in my surrounding area had made quite a name for herself. Usually full of fear to do such a thing, I took my mat under my arm and walked in the door. She recognized me and casually said hi, and I returned the greeting. Her class was hard, really hard, and I can remember leaving that session dripping in sweat and overwhelmed with tears because I thought to myself “I am nothing like she is.”
For years I yo-yoed with this type of thinking. My classes were growing and my following was becoming like family, but my insecurity regarding who I was as a yoga teacher continued with me for several years.
Throughout my entire life, I never felt like I fit in, always standing at the edge, or inside the circle but wondering how long it would last. This gut feeling stayed with me, that I was never meant to conform, yet I desperately wanted to be liked and accepted as both a kid and later as an adult. In our family, we were shown firsthand how to dislike ourselves, and I definitely would have gotten an A+ in that category.
As I taught others about how to love themselves, I often would speak candidly on my mat about the teachable lessons of life. What I really was speaking about was my own life, and I really was speaking to myself. I slowly began to heal my negative thinking patterns one by one while assisting others doing the same.
Many of my students would joke that they would come to my classes to help their physical bodies heal (as I had a growing reputation for intuitively understanding the body), but they would stay because of what it did for their minds. And that is how I view yoga.
Yoga is simply a tool for us to get to know ourselves better, be the observer without distraction, and see how we act and react to life in what I call the incubator (the yoga mat). I love to speak to my students’ souls, and often would find myself crying on the mat, not because I was sad, but because I knew the deep truth that I was being told to speak to those present that day.
These truths, alongside my very nontraditional approach to yoga asana (poses) and the body, caused me to feel like a liar every time someone asked me what I did for a living. I’d say I teach yoga – but that’s not what I do.
I teach others how to live in their bodies fully! I teach others how to honor who they are and how to listen to what their breath and bodies are saying to them. I do all of this while challenging their thinking and their outlooks on themselves and on life in a gentle mirroring way.
I wasn’t a yoga teacher at all.
As I questioned this and meditated on this huge unveiling in my life, I also was diving deep and launching myself into speaking beyond the yoga mat. In writing my five-minute keynote, I was challenged to tell others who I am and what I do in just those few short minutes, and in a way that they would walk away remembering.
Who am I? Easy, I’m Hope Zvara and I Help Others Purposefully Excel. What do I do? And how do I do it?
Yoga was off the table because I knew deep down that I was beyond a yoga teacher at this point. I saw yoga as a tool I would continue to use, but it wasn’t my only tool, especially since most of my learning and education on the human body over the last eight years was outside the yoga realm.
What do I do?
For two weeks, I thought about this. Who am I and what do I do? As I sat down to write yet again, I softly laid my fingertips on my keyboard and the words just flowed. I help others learn to live in their bodies by following the three B’s: Breath, Body, Belief.
Breathing is essential. You cannot live without breathing, and, sadly, many people are not even aware of their breath.
The Body is the soul’s last attempt to get us to listen, and the mat is a way for me to help others learn about and live in their bodies more fully.
And finally, your mindset, or your Beliefs, create your behaviors and set you up for what you will, in fact, attract.
These three pillars are what I have evolved around over the years, and in creating this clarity, it has allowed me to create more focus in my life and in my business. It has reminded me of what I speak on, who I am as a teacher and how I can help people. If it doesn’t fit into this framework, I know to pass on it. After all, trying to be everything for everyone just ends with you being nothing to anyone. As a result, your message becomes watered down, diluted and lost in the shuffle.
I am not a yoga teacher. I am Hope Zvara, and I use yoga as a tool to help and inspire others to live the best life possible: breath, body, and belief (mind).