What happened to my life, my work, my role as a yoga teacher?
I became a yoga teacher hot off the heels of being a secretary in an attic office in the northeast of England working for a local government organisation. I knew before I got into the office job that it was a temporary state in my life. And witnessing the gentle rot of fellow secretaries - some there for 30 (yes 3 + 0) destined for a sentence in admin before retirement, only spurred my longing to be a free yogi and to take off as soon as I could.
I eventually set myself free of those shackles and launched myself into the scary unknown world of yoga teaching, first part-time and then at last able to leave the country to teach full time work in a retreat centre in Goa. Wow! Was that a big leap? But the freedom of leaving my stuff in storage and taking off with a rather large suitcase, my yoga mat and a whole load of "what if?" questions was precious. It was frightening, exciting, liberating, filled with uncertainty and breathtaking. I never looked back.
Through life's different twists and turns I eventually set foot on the gem of the island in Ibiza. Ibiza is like an emerald shining in the middle of a sea of sapphires. I am getting a little squishy when I say these things. But honestly, it is gorgeous. Coming here was through chance and then working here and living here was down to trust and fate. Within 3 weeks of arriving I had found myself a room to live in, a yoga teaching job and a scooter I named Laxshmi to tootle around the pine tree lined roads to shining secret bays of sand and rock and sea.
After several summer seasons between here and Goa and through the meeting of my partner, Neil, a new adventure and challenge arose to open our own boutique retreat we named The Lotus Pad. Ironically this was a name I had held for some time, believing at one point I would set up a yoga shala in the UK and call it my Lotus Pad. But here seemed more fitting (and lets face it, a bit warmer). We set out promoting our new place whilst working the season in Goa, before I even had the house or even a business to think of. It seemed to come. As I spoke about my Pad to students and potential guests, my Pad was created. The Lotus blossomed as I became enthusiastic about it and people appeared to be genuinely interested. Our first summer was all about building and creating and inviting guests in as we opened up. Our next summer was more established and I invited different teachers to bring their groups to enjoy the space also. This summer is still a work in progress with a combination of mine and others work..I will let you know how that goes.
All through this time my role as a yoga teacher changed. I became not only a teacher - focussed on helping my students to find their own liberation through their bodies and breath, and truly work out ways to heal from within - but also a cleaner, housekeeper, accountant, receptionist, tourist guide, counsellor, marketing and public relations assistant, IT expert, gardener, cook and cat owner. My role has indescribably changed over the last few years and I have shed skin and grown different patterns on my body to adapt to these new challenges. What I was not aware of however, in this age of aquarius, this dawning of a new concious era, was how much time I would have to spend in encouraging, coercing, asking, enticing and generally willing people to come and pay me a visit.
So here's my point. I know it took a while to get there. I now spend more time in using the internet, head down in this inner and outer space, in telling people how good I am! Arghh! I hate the thought of it. I hate the action of it. I hate the ego involved in it. But I notice more and more that I have to promote myself and imply I am good at this stuff for anyone to notice me. I am not comfortable with this. Ask me to promote the wonderful massage therapist Jeanette Guckert who regularly does massage at the Lotus Pad, I can. Ask me to promote my partner Neil Allen's wonderful natural food, I can. Ask me to promote Ibiza and sunshine and yoga as a whole, I can do all of that. But ask me to tell people I can teach them a thing or two about yoga...well this doesn't sit well with me. I am not saying I am under confident or even bad at teaching. I have been told I am good at it. But I am not good at pushing myself forward or trying to get people to come to me as a teacher. I can tell people that The Lotus Pad is a wonderful peaceful place to feel again your balance, to relax and to explore. But it feels a little pushy to imply I have anything to do with it.
I look out on (or into) Facebook - probably a little too much time spent there - and I see the teacher in that amazing pose. I see the U-tube clip of some gorgeous yogini in sparkly pants doing some beautiful lithe thing with her body. I see selfies and please "Like" me's and promotions and offers and retreats and yoga/surf/hiking/dance/gymnastics/pilates holidays. I see shamanic journeys, goddess retreats, tantra, detoxification , meditation, NLP, spinal realignment, acupuncture, acupressure, ayurveda, bach flower, homeopathy, tarot cards, reiki. I see every practice on the planet to bring a client to that person. And why shouldn't they? Its a useful tool this internal-net thing. But I can get a little overwhelmed with how forward, how confident and how sure everyone seems to be in their work and what they offer. And I take part in this circus too. A little uneasily believe it or not. Maybe not quite so confident of my abilities. Still humble enough to accept I am, after 14 years of practice, still a novice at this yoga thing. Not quite sure that that picture of me doesn't show my uddijana bandha not quite on.
So here I am, writing my first blog as was advised to do as another means of getting people to know me. I love to write, so I guess its a natural process to get here in the end after a few mental shoves from myself. I hope its not too long or self-indulgent. I hope if you read it it makes you smile and want to do yoga or something. And I hope you come to Ibiza to visit me at my Lotus Pad. Oh, and please give me a slap for the selfie. But everyone else does it! www.lotuspadyoga.com
Wendy Buttery - Yoga Teacher, retreat centre facilitator, cat lover, sun worshipper, nature loving meditator.