Two months ago I was diagnosed with severe exhaustion, forcing me to make some tough choices to prioritize sleep over work and my health over the fun of going out, staying up late, and waking early to teach. Letting classes go after a decade of teaching was one of the toughest decisions I've HAD to make in all of this. When I looked in the mirror at my tired face, hypocrisy was staring back. On the mat I was teaching self-care and balance while off the mat I was living anything but.
The ego is a tricky thing. I was basing my success and self-worth on student's reactions to my classes. Of course it feels great to hear you are the best teacher ever! Or to hear how I've helped someone overcome fear, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, lack of clarity, and a whole host of other ailments that plague our increasingly stress driven culture.
But attachment is a trickier thing. I was attached to you, dear students, for my self-worth. And you were attached to "Jillian's class". The resulting false sense of importance and feeling obligated to continue to teach lest the momentum fade has kept me under slept, under nourished, and under joyful for so long. I completely own my singular role in all of this.
So now self care looks like this: 12 hours a day of sleep (yoga nidra and naps!) I've been drinking bone broth and eating simple healthy foods, seeking the wisdom of friends who support my return to health, and reading up on self-care. I hope my vitality will return and I will be spending increasing time in nature, climbing, biking, and when ski season starts, mounting tall peaks and taking fresh laps.
Teachers come and go. As my beloved teacher says.. life is full of hellos and goodbyes. It's nature at work. It's the little deaths that make us stronger and more capable of finding peace in the next little death.
But just because I am turning away from a decade of teaching public classes; I know that the lessons, techniques and experiences of my classes will endure inside you. The ability to witness challenge in a non-reactive way, to control your breath, to build capacity and power or slow down and nourish, are all yours to make what you will of them.
And, I have to be honest, and I've argued quite a bit with many students since I announced my whittled down yoga schedule; to think that another teacher won't inspire you is myopic. Everyone is a teacher -- every experience is a teaching. There are amazing teachers out there. Find them, become inspired, but maintain your trajectory toward independence in your practice and self-mastery. It is true. You are your best teacher.
So to all the teachers before me, who have left, and to all the teachers in the future who you will experience, I say this.
Just. Keep. Practicing.
With SO MUCH GRATITUDE for your studentship! For the decade of showing up, being willing to learn deeply, and for helping me grow as a person, you are in my heart every single day.
miss you already --