I am a yoga practitioner and I teach yoga. This July will mark the 10 year anniversary of my yoga journey. After years of practicing and over 1,000 teaching hours, I'd like to think I am an experienced yogini. In reality, I feel opposite. There is no doubt that I've learned a lot throughout these years, but my confidence level isn't quite there yet especially when it comes to teaching. I often ask myself, "Am I qualified to teach? Do I have valuable content to offer students? How can I be a better teacher?" All these questions are the driving force for me to continue learning, taking workshops and training courses, and most importantly, keep practicing.
One day, I brought up my feeling to my partner. He told me what I've gone though was normal and shared Dunning-Kruger Effect with me. It sounds a little bit geeky, but what can I say? We both have engineering background. I was impressed by how well Dunning-Kruger Effect reflected my journey as a yogini as well as a teacher. I overestimated my yoga knowledge after being RYT 200 certified, two years of practicing yoga. I was overconfident and suffered from ignorance. As explained by The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, "ignorance, the cause of suffering, can be removed by the practice of the eight limbs of yoga." Luckily, it didn't take long to see my deficiencies; however, it wasn't until 2015 when I started practicing Ashtanga yoga did I truly recognize my "incompetence." Incompetence may be too strong of a word, but I did have a lot more to learn for sure. The Asana practice is only one limb of yoga. There are seven other limbs, Yama, Niyama, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana and Samadhi worth deeper study.
What is Dunning-Kruger Effect?
"In the field of psychology David Dunning & Justin Kruger talk about an illusory superiority that people believe (suffer from) in. This happens because of misjudging their cognitive abilities as greater, than it actually is. It is the inability to understand your incompetence, leading to inflated self-assessment." - Vunela