- Yoga teachers are not perfect!
- Regardless of how much yoga I do, I have a feisty nature. The fuse that triggers my feisty-ness is long but when invoked, my anger isn’t pleasant for anyone.
- I have a very low tolerance for idiotic behaviour when coming from people I think should know better.
- These days I’ve generally got a pretty good handle on detachment and letting go of my “stuff”. You could say I’ve had a lot of practice! But sometimes, someone offends me in a way that REALLY presses my buttons. Twenty other so-called insults that might look almost identical pass me by. I laugh, I see the bigger picture and I have compassion for myself and the other party. Then, the twenty-first insult comes along and I am mightily pissed off. I take deep, deep offense and I feel that the other person owes me a heartfelt apology. Until I get that apology, I hold a grudge. I am not friendly to that person and I can hold onto that for a long, long time. It’s stupid, and it doesn’t make sense. I’m not proud of it, but that’s how it is. Eventually I chip-chip-chip away at my own stupidity and pigheadedness. I finally let go, but it’s a hard lesson. I can still be an idiot at times…
- Tonight, teaching my second weekly regular yoga class… I felt a little burst of ego bubbling to the surface when I saw there were repeat students from the previous week. My ego translated this as: they must have enjoyed MY class! Cue the swell of pride. Kinda icky really, since teaching is just so NOT about me.
- I’m not really a fan of Elephant Journal, but I really REALLY love this article: Anorexia and Yoga on the Runway, by Tias Little. THANK GOODNESS for Tias! If only all men and women could be accepting of our bodies like this!
- And then there is yoga teaching: teaching is such a different way of understanding yoga. I have a responsibility not just to myself but to my students, and I want them to learn more than just the “correct” physical movements of downward facing dog.
- I have a vast body of yoga knowledge somewhere in this person-shaped flesh-pod that identifies as me. Over ten years of meditation, yogic philosophy, asana practice and all the rest! To me, this represents only a beginning – I’ve decades of study ahead of me! But I can only genuinely share those teachings that I’ve embodied and taken on as my own. And drip-drip-drip feeding these things to my students because I will never forget how overwhelming it all was to me way back when. There’s a lot to learn and it’s all marvelous. So I slowly pass on the tiniest of moments.
- Somewhere in the middle of today I saw a re-tweet from the wonderful Cora Wen:
- Oh yes. So important. Be kind – to yourself and to others, in your yoga practice and your day-to-day life. This wee Twittered seed became the theme of my class this evening.
- Because it is not kind of me to be short with people I brand “idiots” for their behaviour. And it’s definitely not kind to myself or others to hold grudges, no matter how few or how mild they might be.
- I also need to be kind to my body – gentle with it while it gets used to the idea that I’m no longer in the siege-mode of recent years.
I must re-learn to nourish it with good foods, and not just eat as a mindless function of being alive.
- And I need to reach out to my students who are no doubt giving themselves a hard time about their yoga practice: what they can/can’t do; if the person next to them is better/worse than they are; straining to get into a pose; berating themselves for their busy mind or their injuries.
- I know they need to offer themselves this kindness because I have to remember to offer it to myself, too. Perhaps not in the same ways anymore, or to the same extent. But still, do I give myself the same latitude I would give to a beloved friend? Erm, sometimes…
- Kindness towards yourself and others is: honesty and acceptance of how things are; being aware of one’s weaknesses and strengths; observing one’s actions and thoughts without judging them harshly; and letting things be as they are.
- I tell my yoga students that nothing is wrong with the way they do their yoga. It isn’t important if they can touch their toes or not. What’s important is how connected they are to their breath and the movement. This is kindness and honesty in action.
- Just like last week, the words I say while teaching come out of a place that isn’t connected to the self-conscious, trip-over-my-own-feet daggy part of my nature that gets tongue-tied in the spotlight.
- As I talk everyone through savasana at the beginning of the class I visualise my teachers floating above my head and tears in my eyes, I offer them gratitude and love for the wisdom they’ve passed on to me.
- The teachings of yoga – way beyond descriptions of alignment or form – have their own consciousness. And yes, they are teachings of kindness and honesty, too.