Meditation and Yoga Instructor Carolyn Anne Budgell on the Importance of Inner Work for Teachers

Carolyn Anne Budgell is a local yoga and meditation instructor in Vancouver. She also works with Mindful Mass as a meditation teacher.

She never envisioned that this is where she would end up, nor did she necessarily ever want it or dream of it, but she has been dedicating her life to teaching for ten years.

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Honouring your teachers

Before she got started teaching, so many people Carolyn looked up to were doing yoga. It was fun for her to be part of a community with people she really admired, and she could see that there was something different about them.

She was able to feed off that energy, and being able to practice with and learn from some of these great teachers really became infused into her being, and she feels like she carries some of that forward because it’s in her still.

Carolyn is a true believer in honouring your teachers. It’s really important to list where you’ve come from. And perhaps that belief is why she feels called to teach others how to teach.

Giving permission and being the light

Especially when teaching others, being present and attentive, holding space, and setting a tone is important, because that’s when you can allow something magical to come through.

All people need is permission. All you need to say is one little thing and the mind can release a pattern that has been causing a block. Sometimes people are just waiting and looking for someone to say it’s okay to experience what you’re experiencing, it’s okay to become a full version of yourself, you’re allowed to be happy. You’re allowed to feel good. To feel joy. Don’t put down your value in this world.

With this in mind, just be that light for people. You can influence others with what you’re putting out into the world and what you’re trying to show as an example, because you never know how that can inspire somebody and lift somebody up.

It doesn’t matter what kind of position we find ourselves in, we forget how powerful we are as humans. Unfortunately this extends to how powerful our negative tendencies are as well.

Getting out of negativity

When we find ourselves getting caught up in shame, regret, anger, or other negative feedback loops, it becomes evident, and we can’t really show up for others, because we’re caught in our own stories in the past or the future.

A lot of us forget that we’re not going to be listening as closely to others when we get caught up in our thoughts, and we’re not going to be present with others even when they’re talking to us. It’s easy to pretend to have a conversation with someone when we’re actually just having a conversation with ourselves.

It’s such a precious opportunity to be able to teach yoga classes or meditation classes or even to be able to sit and talk with someone, because you never know how you’re going to impact them or what you’re going to leave them with. So to be in our highest level of awareness around what we’re presenting is so important, which is why Carolyn places so much emphasis on doing inner work.

So if you do find yourself getting caught up in your own negative thoughts, what do you do to try to shift your state? Sometimes the best way to let go of things when you’re stuck in a story is actually to talk about it, usually with an unbiased listener or perhaps just vocalizing it to yourself.

If you can separate yourself from the emotion around it and say, “I feel hurt” or “I feel sad”, and “it’s not because someone else has made me feel that way,” and actually just acknowledge what’s underneath it, saying it out loud can take such a weight off your shoulders.

Carolyn’s advice

For other teachers of yoga, meditation, or in the wellness industry, what’s really important is to get clear on what you want to put out into the world, what you’re good at, and what you love.

Sometimes people jump into things, doing something because they think they have to. You can do better than that. There’s so much more out there for you than just doing what you think you should.

And when it comes to sitting in meditation, don’t have the goal of trying to get clear. Just be in it and clarity will come. Just allow for wisdom to arise spontaneously, listen to your body, and let it speak to you.

The final piece of advice Carolyn would give to anyone is to never stop questioning, whether it is about why you have certain habits, negative patterns, or certain people in your life--never stop questioning it all.

The moment we start to ignore our questions, run from them, or hide from them, then we’re really taking ourselves out of the experience that life has to offer, which is learning. If you stop questioning, you’re not allowing yourself to learn.  

Key takeaways:

  • How Carolyn chose the path of teaching meditation and yoga

  • The importance of being present and attentive with others

  • Sometimes people are just waiting and looking for someone to give them permission

  • Sharing as authentically as possible is so important

  • Just sit in meditation; don’t have the goal of trying to get clear

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