August 7th, 2012
This was just the topic, in my yoga class today. We were doing a variety of poses, and there were some difficult ones in the mix. Specifically, there were poses and practices that were difficult for some individual students. That is one of the most interesting things to notice about yoga. Your yoga is not my yoga. What is simple for me may feel impossible for you and vice versa. We each bring our strengths and foibles and baggage to our mats. But that is also the beauty of yoga. The deeper yoga has to do with all those sticking points. It has more to do with how you are in your pose than what your pose looks like. Yoga provides us with a process to follow. If we keep practicing, we will get better. And it may not even be the ‘pose’ that gets better, but rather how we feel about ourselves attempting the pose. That gets better. What I mean by better is instead of:
‘I suck at this’
‘I used to be able to do this’
‘They can all do it’
‘I will never do this’
‘I might as well give up’
all of that angst and self-criticism and judgement can be resolved through yoga. And over time we may be able to say instead:
‘I will try’
‘I am getting better slowly’
‘It’s a yoga miracle! I did it!’
Give yourself permission to try, and to ‘fail’. Failure is just success waiting to take wing.
July 31st, 2012
Today, I was teaching in a new place…. all new students…. and needed to get there early to complete paperwork etc. As it turned out, I was in the yoga room 40 minutes before the first student. I went through all the preparations of the room that any yoga teacher knows, the music, the mat, the lights, checking out available props etc. In this case, happily that included lighting the candles. But then I still had 30 minutes to spare. I considered doing some asana, but since it was the third yoga class for me today, I decided to tone the inner self instead. I’d brought my favorite poetry book to share during class. So, I spent my moments reading some Mary Oliver, and letting the beauty and wisdom of her words sink in. As I sat there in the soft light, I had an experience of feeling the roots of my own yoga. There is a deep place in me that I can find in yoga. It is an authentic place for me. There are so many ways to teach yoga, and so many different students who may want and need different things. But I was reminded tonight that there is no substitute for following your own bliss, for walking the path of yoga that nourishes you personally. In finding and feeling that place in me, I remembered all the students who have joined me in that place. I recalled all the people who have shared a Mary Oliver poem with me at the end of a lovely yoga class. This insight arrived in me at a perfect moment, after a time apart. 30 minutes with nothing but me and my thoughts and a poetry book. Yoga helps us give good advice to ourselves. But listening is also aided by a quiet room and some time apart. I am grateful that I found that tonight. Such a good reminder. May you find some quiet, and time, and insight too.