Gremlins and yoga teacher insecurities

Insecurities. Everyone has these little gremlins inside that try to hold us back from growth. They tell us that we’re not good enough as they pull on our shirt tail, dragging us down under their shield of “protection” so we won’t be hurt by failure or rejection.

Some of us have gremlins who scream so loud we can’t hear anything else. They drown out any kind words outsiders say, because when they block out failure and rejection they also block out success and acceptance.

I’ve been able to quiet my insecurity gremlins down through hard inner work on and off the mat. But they’re still there, whispering not-so-sweet somethings in my ear.

They’re there before I teach a yoga class. I feel most at home on the yoga mat but I still have a little ball of self-doubt in my belly as I lead a class. You’re not good enough. Why should they listen to you? What do you have to offer them?

Those whispers can whirl around in my mind and when a student compliments the class I’m often taken aback by it. Really? Are you sure? That’s not what the gremlins said.


The other night I took an amazing yoga class led by Lisa Bloom, CorePower Yoga's Director of Midwest Operations. The sequence was awesome and challenging, her playlist was perfection, her voice was confident, kind and genuine and her queues were crystal clear.

After class, I did something not-so yogi like. I compared myself to her and allowed myself to feel small and insignificant. Those little gremlins started acting up. You’ll never be as good as that. Why are you even trying? She’s a real yoga pro. You’re an imposture.

She’s been teaching for almost 15 years. I’ve been teaching for about a year and a half. Is it really fair to compare my teaching to hers? The class was inspirational — that’s where I could be a decade from now, not where I should be now. 

This summer, I’m going to be a coach in training for CorePower Yoga’s yoga teacher training. When I agreed to do this the gremlins started chatting, whispering those same words that arise before I teach a class. You’re not good enough. Why should they listen to you? What do you have to offer them?

I’m becoming a better gremlin tamer all the time. If I let them pull me down, I never would have signed up for teacher training. There are a lot of things I wouldn’t have done in my life. The times that I’ve been the most vulnerable — when the gremlins have challenged me — have been the times I’ve experienced the most growth.

The fact is I don’t have 15 years of experience. There are areas of my teaching that could (see how I said could instead of should?) improve and I am always seeking opportunities for growth as a teacher. But I have learned a lot in the short time I’ve been teaching that I can share with the future teachers I will help coach this summer.

Those gremlins will never go away completely, I am sure of that. But I’m sure as hell not going to let them win.

Namaste, gremlin tamers.