As my year draws to a close I am reflecting on what I have learned over the past year. It was my year of transformation which culminated in a trip to Florida to study with my teacher John Friend. Yet another teacher training yoga trip to Tucson to study with Amy Ippoliti , Christina Sell and Darren Rhodes. Definitely a terrifying and ultimately trans-formative experience. Arizona Yogis are far more bendy and advanced then myself. This was the year of tonnes of teacher trainings. I made connections with people on broad and luminous scale. I found new gurus. I became a guru ( opened a yoga school) and I taught a lot of yoga. I learned a lot about asana and human spirit. I learned that everyone has their own idea about what yoga means. I learned about responsibility…everyone has their idea of what means.
This is what it means to me: Showing up and being all the way there. Getting invested in the human experience, changing the world, helping people live to their highest intention. Not being a yoga door mat; being powerful and still soft. I am teaching this to my current Yoga Teacher Training Students. I wish I had spent more time cultivating this concept in the past teacher trainings.
Why is it as a culture we feel we are owed something? You owe it to yourself to live to your highest vibration. Who is responsible for your ultimate happiness? What are you responsible for? For me, I want to help everyone be successful in their businesses and their lives but at what expense? Do I lay myself down and become a door mat in the name of yoga? Do I let people do whatever they want in the studio because it’s yoga?
Managing a studio and being a part of the local yoga scene has its drama. Here in Windsor (and other places too I assume) egos run rampant. I am no exception. It’s the human condition. Feelings get hurt, people don’t truly support each other out of fear, and then there is competition right? I have owned a yoga studio in some format for the past 6 + years. When I first opened I reached out other studio owners with no response and quickly came to understand that I need to build community in my own studio. The yoga community at large was uninterested in sharing the love. It’s okay. I love a challenge and I built Eastside Yoga Studio from the ground up. I was responsible for creating the community I wanted to see. Ultimately, I am responsible for own success and modelling what I want to see in the world. Next step I needed to be responsible for creating my image of the yoga professional.
Yoga is huge now …with about 20 million people in the world who do yoga and still millions more wanting to try it. More people do yoga in North American then anywhere else in the world. It is so important. We can change the world by tuning in and turning on people to the possibilities of yoga. What I would love to see is a change in the attitudes of yoga teachers. I am really tired of the flaky yoga teacher persona.
One thing about owning a yoga studio is that it’s a small business- A business! A business with a social conscious; a business invested in human potential and personal growth but still a small business. There is rent to be paid, teacher salaries, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and operating costs like heat and water. There is a lot of responsibilities besides enlightenment. If we want to serve the world we do need to have our needs met. What are the responsibilities of yoga teachers?
To show up and be invested! Know your craft and be safe. Speak highly of others. Serve your students. Be on time, be prepared, be humble, be open and be responsible for your actions and the actions of your students. Help your students, answer questions and be available to them. Be the professional that you are. You represent all teachers everywhere when you choose to take the seat of teacher. If the space is damaged in your class make amends to fix it because you want to preserve the sacred space and you are honoured to teach within it. Give a damn about where you teach! Secure the space when you are finished teaching so that we have a place to come back to. I have said it before but it bears repeating-Be invested in what you do, whether it is a part time job or a full time career, treat it with respect. Be responsible!
In the context of Anusara Yoga (the yoga I love to practice and teach) responsibility to me aligns with muscle energy. In the concept of muscle energy, skin hugs muscles, muscles hug to bones and energy draws inward to the mid-line to protect the body . When we are protected and secure the mind is free. When I am responsible for my practices (all of them) I feel strong, I feel connected to myself and get inspired to share that strength. The strength of conviction, devotion, love, joy and ultimately happiness. Serving the world means being responsible in every way.
As we move forward through 2012 I will continue to to cultivate the ideas of responsibility to family, to my students, to teachers within the Eastside community. I want yoga to continue to grow. I want Eastside Yoga Studio and all Yoga Studios to flourish and expand and grow. I want to be responsible for making the world a better place for all!…
Happy New Year