A Teacher Does Not a Healer Make


While listening to a podcast, I heard the host say that even though she is going through her own process, she is still a healer. My breath caught in my chest, as it does whenever I hear a human being refer to themselves in this way.

I have many teachers in my life. The short list includes my son, my husband, several yoga instructors, as well as psychotherapists, shamans, nutrition and life coaches and my dead father. None of them, ever, has healed me because none of them, ever, has had the ability to. To agree to any stance other than this is only to hand over my power to someone else and wait for them to fix me, to fill my voids and deficiencies. This life is way too short for that sort of thinking. My commitment to healing is to myself, from myself. I do not place this most precious of seedlings in the hands of anyone else. The wellbeing of my commitment to heal is no less important to me than the wellbeing of my family. I do not attempt to heal alone, though. My tribe reflects back to me what I need to see.

There have been nights of conversation from which I have emerged healed from an emotional wound. This is not because the person I spent that evening with chanted over me, held me, or walked through fire with me. Healing can only happen when I decide it’s time to happen. Those walks, those mantras, they are an ingredient in the recipe for healing, but they need my presence and my participation to rise.

I am a yoga teacher. In class, I create a space for my students and I hold that space for them during our time together. My promise to them is that I will be fully present if and when they decide to begin a healing process. I am not there to heal them. For me to think that I am even able to heal them is an exercise in futility and, in and of itself, delusional.

There is no podcast, no workshop, no yoga class or meditation, no guru, no book, and no retreat that will heal you. The healers among us are only us, and we choose what tools to use in order to facilitate and continue healing. All of these practices and experiences can be valuable, and even invaluable on the path, but they are only a deflated balloon without your breath. Take on your teachers. Listen to and question them, and then choose your position. You are your healer, and believe no one who tells you differently.


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