I love to think myself as a student of life. I am always yearning and seeking all types of information and experiences. The very first time I stepped on my yoga mat was for the function of fitness and beauty. I wanted to look and be a certain way and add another element to my fitness regiment. And of course lose some of my baby weight.
What I learned was so much more…one of my very first yoga experiences was with my Mom in 70′s. (now I’m dating myself) She had a book called Be Young with Yoga written by Richard Hittleman. We did yoga poses in our family room while watching TV. I did my first Halasana (Plow pose) with my Mom guiding me, while we watched the Jackson 5 Show on TV. It seems so funny now, but that was my very first introduction to yoga. I spent the next 30+ years drifting in and out of the practice, as I think most of us do. We come to yoga as we need it and focus on different aspects of it at different times in our lives. We devote more time to the self reflection of yoga in difficult times; we get more physical when we feel the need to create Tapas (fire of transformation) either physically or mentally.
Ultimately on this part of my Yogic experience or journey what I have learned is this…
Everyone practices yoga for their own reasons. Yoga doesn’t not always mean enlightenment to everyone. Some people think it is an easy way to workout or they want to look like Jennifer Anniston. They get to their mats and are ultimately surprised by what they find.
Tucson is a gorgeous city and Yoga Oasis is an awesome studio. But, (a big butt) I am in no way prepared physically or emotionally for an Advanced Anusara Intensive…even if I can get into handstand or wheel without assistance-Damn what was I thinking.
Super flexible and beautiful yogis are just as insecure as I am. Yoga Journal is really just a fashion magazine with beautiful uber flexible airbrushed people doing yoga. Yes the contributors and articles have merit. Yet another but, Yoga Journal does not represent the common yogi. It is limited in its diversity. It almost never features a person of colour, or a larger or older yogi on the cover. I love when the Kripalu catalogue comes out. It’s photographs and the magazine represent the diversity of yoga in such a beautiful way. It is really nice to see someone who looks like you doing yoga.
Being a Yogi doesn’t mean being a door mat-these are wise words from my girl Mary Farrel (Blossoming Lotus). You are allowed to say no and be okay with it. My teacher John Friend tells us that the no facilitates the yes. You will go further sometimes if you pull back a little. It is far more powerful to contain some energy for another day then to splat it every where and have nothing left of yourself to give.
It is okay to earn a decent living teaching yoga. Don’t get me wrong , your purpose should NOT be the almighty dollar. Your devotion to yoga is to serve mankind. This is the reason you teach yoga. You still have to eat and pay your mortgage like everyone else. If you give everything away there will be nothing left in the end. The truth of modern society is that you need money to live. You have a greater capacity to help people if you have the funds to do it. If you have no money, then you only have time and if your time is all donated, you have nothing to give. If you have the funds and not the time you can donate the prana of money to a cause or help a less fortunate person. Money is another form of prana.
Not all students in your yoga class are receptive to your teachings. Some people can’t hear you or just are not listening. They are on their own path and mostly in their own head. So sometimes your energy is better spent on the students who are open to receive what you are teaching. In time things might change…or not! Spend your energies wisely.
Running a Yoga Studio is a business. It cost money to turn the lights on and for the teacher to come and share the teachings. It is really hard to walk the line of yogi and business owner. Unfortunately, studio ownership is a business so it is difficult to create community in a competitive market place. There is often no true community among studios in the same city. We don’t truly support each other. My wise yoga teacher once told me build community in your own studio. Props out to my girl Darlene at Yoga 4 Hope . Pajama Angels is the one true local yoga community builder here in Windsor.
My biggest best lessons from yoga are to always take my time; whether I am struggling in a pose or struggling in my life…enjoy the experience. You are blessed to experience it. Be present, be grateful because life is good even when it isn’t. It is definitely better then the alternative. Love life even if you angry, frustrated, sad or joyful…Remember everything always works out in the end and if it doesn’t it is not the end…
Peace out spiritual soldiers!