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Leave the “Crap” out of the Yoga Room August 29, 2011

Posted by admin in : People, Spiritual Growth, Yoga , 3comments

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I subbed a yoga class for a friend over the weekend, which always brings up a little hesitation with the students since they are expecting to see their favorite teacher, but I also know that we always get what we need, regardless of who’s teaching so I did what I do, as all teachers do … I opened my heart and allowed my own unique style of teaching to emerge.

We all have our own language and way of being in the yoga room that differentiates us from every one else. It’s one of the things I love about yoga. Every class is different and every teacher has his or her own unique style. As I guided the yogis in to prayer crescent twist, I told them to breathe deeply in to the pose, as twists have a way of wringing the “crap” out of our bodies.

It’s not like I think about every word I say. The words are unforeseeable, as they come from within and materialize in the moment. I have to trust my body and inner wisdom to know what to say and when to say it and if someone takes offense, then perhaps that’s something for them to pore over in their own time.

Even though you have no idea how a class full of strangers is going to react to your style of teaching, you have to let go of the expectations and judgments knowing that you’re doing your best. As I guided the class out of svasana, the energy felt received and I felt comforted by the sleepy eyes and the peaceful calm that permeated the sea of mats. I received a lot of heartfelt appreciation and I was feeling good until a student came up to me and said, “You know … you’re  a really good teacher, but you need to leave the “crap” out of the yoga room.” What?!?!?!?!?! “What crap?” She went on to say that there was no place for negative words in the yoga room and that I really needed to be careful about the words I use.

Although I was completely taken off guard and dumbfounded, I heard myself say, “Thank you for being honest and for sharing with me. I appreciate you feeling safe enough to be truthful.” I wanted to mean it and I did mean it in the sense that I truly believe that human beings and life experiences are our teachers and if someone feels strongly enough to share their opinion, then we should at least listen to see if any of it resonates or stirs up any thoughts or feelings that could be used to learn something about ourselves.

That being said, I got more and more upset, as I drove home. I kept thinking I wanted to take back my words of gratitude and tell her how I really felt. Who was she and what gave her the right to judge me or tell me what I could or could not say? Yoga is about non-judgment and leaving the ego outside the classroom. I’ve spent my whole life drowning in insecurities and have done a lot of work to build my confidence and the yoga room is the one place I feel safe. Yoga is my passion and sense of security and she had no right to take that away from me.

Yes, I was a little defensive, but therein lies my challenge … to be a silent witness to my own judgements and self-justifying. Being conscious is allowing others to trigger sensitivities and insecurities so that we can grow and become better beings. Judging her for judging me was not the answer. It’s about transforming my fears in to love so that I can be a better person. Had she not triggered anything for me then we wouldn’t be having this conversation so I’m grateful to this person for being honest and giving me an opportunity to explore myself a little deeper, but it is also my opinion that nobody has the right to judge another. Teaching is an act of great service and we all have a way of doing it that makes us feel comfortable and safe and that should be held in the highest regard.

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From Dancing Toes to All my Woes August 24, 2011

Posted by admin in : Injuries, Spiritual Growth , add a comment
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What is it about life that can have us floating around one moment and then completely grounded the next? Is it mother earth’s way of keeping us in check? Is it our collective consciousness seeking balance? Is it just a way for our higher selves to foster change so that we can grow and expand our awareness?

Although I would prefer to live behind rose colored sunglasses, I do get that being deeply connected to mankind requires doing a little soul searching, which means allowing our lives to ebb and flow through life’s highs and lows. This gives us the ability to stay grounded and connected and to have compassion, but it doesn’t always come so easily.

Before Saturday, I was gleaming from leaving corporate to pursue my passion to teach. My relationship was feeling rich and abundant and I was savoring every moment of my insatiable life. The sun was shining bright on my face, as we drove up in the convertible to the lake. I was smiling ear to ear sipping on a latte while all 10 toes danced happily across the dashboard.

That was obviously my high. The low came several hours later when I was thrown off a jet ski. I’m not exactly sure how it all went down because it happened so fast, but the impact of the water felt like a brick hit my face. I thought I was knocked unconscious until I realized there was blood running down my face.

I spent the next 48 hours in an extreme amount of pain. Everything from my teeth to the top of my head throbbed and the left side of my neck ached. Usually my life flows and I’m able to go where the wind takes me, but when I’m physically thrown off center, my mind becomes controlling and incessant.

Mind: Don’t be a baby … be strong … brush it off … it’s no big deal … it’s just a tiny little cut

Self: It is a big deal … it scared the shit out of me … I’m in a lot of pain … my whole face is throbbing … I think I might pass out

Mind: You’re going to ruin everyone’s evening … get it together

Self: How do I know if I’m okay … how do I know if I need stitches … what if I have a concussion … should I call my mom … I shouldn’t worry her … can I take Tylenol and Advil together … how much can I take … what just happened … I’m feeling faint … I really think I’m going to pass out

And the Mind went on and on through the next day too …

Mind: This is the first weekend in a while you don’t have to teach … you should get up and take a yoga class … you’re head doesn’t hurt that bad … you’re fine … now get up

Self: It’s okay to rest and take it easy and watch chick flicks all day … laying on the couch and eating pizza and ice cream is okay

Mind: Now you’re the victim and all this laying around and eating crap is going to make you feel worse … you should’ve gone to yoga … you’re being such a baby

Self: Shut up … I don’t have to be a tough girl … I’m not a tough girl … my  head hurts and I want to cry

And on and on it went …

After all the mindless noise began to settle, I found myself contemplating the bigger picture. Accidents happen and it could’ve been worse so I start thinking about the things that are really important to me like having a family and being a wife and a mom. My mind wants to label this analytical thinking, as bad, but is it? Life is way too short and perhaps this is why things like this happen in our lives … to get us thinking about things that matter.

If we were always floating around with our heads in the clouds we would never be forced to go deeper in to our selves and so although we must let go to a certain extent and accept our lives and allow them the flow organically, there’s something to be said about making conscious decisions. We have to use life, as a tool, and accidents, illness, and life’s challenges are a way of teaching us to connect to the body and get in touch with what’s important.

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