Be what you teach!

Think about the best teachers you’ve ever had. What did you like most about them? Was it the way they taught, what they taught or was it the way they were being when doing all of that. One of my favorite yoga teachers said once that the best way to be a great yoga teacher is to remember yourself during class and tell your students what you would tell to yourself, be there with them and give them your energy to stand in a balancing challenging pose. Come to think about it, she doesn’t teach yoga, she is yoga. Whatever you choose to teach other people, you have to live it first: you can’t talk to people about healthy food and at the same time eat a greasy burger and drink a soda, that’s just salesmanship, that’s not teaching.

Last weekend I went to a painting workshop with teenagers, in which the supervising adults were so far from this concept that I couldn’t even believe it. Just before breakfast was served, they would yell at the children to sit down quietly and stop asking for the food to be served and then adding: “everybody is hungry and we’ll all eat at the same time”. And then 5 seconds later they would take a grape or a piece of apple from the table. Now I know for many of you this may seem unimportant, but let me tell you it’s not. It’s just like telling them, you have to behave, but I don’t have to, because I’m an adult – whatever that means. And believe me, teenagers are observant and once they realized what was happening they started complaining even more and demanding for things to move faster.

And then I have this friend, who’s always preaching to me about how she eats organic, healthy food, how she would never eat processed sugar or junk food. Every time she talks, you start feeling bad about that brownie you had a week ago or those french fries that you covered in melted cheese. But there’s always something judgmental and untruthful about her. And honestly, I used to wonder how a person who’s so healthy and so careful with what she eats can be about 30 pounds overweight, have various skin conditions and be in poor health in general. And one day I discovered it: she preaches, but she doesn’t live by her preaching. She would buy expensive organic, local, healthy, whatever they are called now products, but she would also buy gallons of soda, tons of McDonalds and other junk food. So at any given moment, her fridge was stuffed with broccoli, salad, apples and organic dairy that would end up going bad, while she would eat burger after burger and use soda as a substitute for water. And just as a mention here, when people say they can’t lose weight because they have a hormonal problem, slow metabolism or whatever other conditions are used to mask overeating, check what they eat. Apparently, only about 2% of the people who are overweight, actually have a genetic dysfunction that works against them. The rest are just bad eaters.

So when I first said, I wanted to be an experiential learning facilitator and to coach people, I remember one of my mentors saying: “Lav, that’s something that you have to be inside yourself first and then you can be it for other people”. I looked at him and I realized there is no was I can coach people into discovering their higher self if I haven’t discovered my higher self and if I’m not living that.

So the best teacher is not the one who knows everything about a particular subject matter, or who has 10+ years of experience (what is the value of that if you spent 10+ years not evolving), is not the one who’s the funniest, the cutest…it’s the one who is living within his teaching, the one who is overcoming challenges every day and discovering new ways to connect with people, to be more and to live to his highest potential.

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