I've been reflecting lately on my first few years teaching yoga.
I was trained in 2010 in Washington D.C. at Hot Yoga USA, a heated studio that infused strong Vinyasa Yoga classes with temperatures of around 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Not TOO hot, the heat perfect for cold DC winters and autumns.
Teachers embodied the discipline of Bikram, the creativity and flow of Shiva Rea, and the intense focus of Baron Baptiste. Max Strom, a master Pranayama teacher, frequented for workshops.
The sacred, quiet camaraderie among yoga students was a welcome change from hectic college life. While friendly, most of the studio's regulars kept to themselves, eager to sit on silence on their mats in the heated room once shedding layers of clothing in the small lobby.
It is here that I learned how to check my ego at the door, stabilize my pelvis and float with control in Crow Pose and Headstand.
It is here that I met myself on the mat, made aware of my bad habits and judgmental mind.
It is here that I knew I was supposed to practice daily, and become a teacher myself. It is here that I became intimate friends with the practice of Yoga.
Yoga asks you to simply show up. People think that yoga is about getting flexible or fit, but those are simply side effects. Yoga is not a religion, or a lifestyle, or a deity. Yoga is just meeting yourself on the mat, again and again.
It truly is quite simply balancing mind, body and spirit. Never mastering them, but just BE-ing in them, all of them.
I hear a lot of people talk about doing yoga, telling me they want to do it, or plan to do it. But the fact is, you'll never fully understand, and experience, the power of yoga unless you SHOW UP to class, to the mat, to yourself. And you must CONTINUE to show up, because the POWER is in the PRACTICE.
It is so beautiful for me, as a teacher, to be inspired by yoga students in class and create for them an experience that will both challenge and bless them. No class is ever the same. No one leaves the studio the same, including and especially myself.
It is a deeply rewarding career and life path. I get to help people relax, fully enter the present moment and then connect to God (or Source, or Spirit, or whatever you like to call It).
I get to see people at their highest, and their lowest, their most and least connected. It is simply my job to keep plugging people in, to keep assisting them in making those connections. This might happen through a pose, or a modification or adjustment. This might also happen through a song that comes on Pandora or an essential oil that practically begs to be taken out of my bag and passed around (yes, my essential oils talk to me ;)) Most likely, it happens within my student's brains and bodies themselves.
I will keep sharing about my training experience, my first few classes and special experiences I've had while practicing Yoga. Until them, I do hope you try a class if you've been meaning to, or let me know any questions you may have. If it's been a while since you've practiced, maybe this would be a good time to check out a new studio or class in the park.
Lots of love to you and yours,