There is just one life for each of us: our own. ~Euripides
Yoga teaches me so many things. Last night, it reminded me of the importance of being true to myself. To recognize that we are all unique beings, living our own lives, our own paths, and we have only to be true that that.
I teach yoga. I love sharing the teachings of yoga. For me, yoga is not so much about the physical. For me, it's not so much about twisting into crazy poses or holding my body weight on one arm, or building a tight, svelt body. For some people, it is, and that's their journey. But for me, it's always been about connecting with my breath, finding a place of stillness and quiet, developing love for myself and my body, being able to soften and breathe and allow love to flow. I love the history and philosophy of yoga. I love the spirit behind it. When I teach people, it is always with a focus on kindness and softness - kindness towards ourselves, acceptance of what's happening right now, without judgement. Softening the intensity in how we hold ourselves, how we breathe, how we live. If people leave my class feeling more centered, more peaceful, more joyous, and a little blissed out, I feel delighted. That is the gift that yoga gives me, and that's the gift I want others to discover.
Last night, I taught a beginner's class, and then a restorative class. Neither class was about accomplishment - they were about connecting with the breath, watching the body and breath become united in movement, and bringing our minds to a place of rest and stillness.
There were other classes going on in the studio at the same time, powerful, strong, active, hot classes. The people, and teachers, going in and out of those classes, are super-fit, super-strong. And I found myself becoming judgemental of myself - "am I teaching the right stuff? these people look pretty cool; they have better abs and shoulders and arms than I do. they have tats all over them. maybe I'm not cool. maybe I should teach that power-twisty-sweaty yoga". Really, I was transported back to grade 7-girl stuff - power hot yoga is so trendy, so popular, so "in"; and I had a flashback criticism: "I'm doing it wrong, I'm not in the in-crowd". Then I had a little giggle to myself. Observed the thoughts that I was having. Then came back to my breath, and my heart center, and realized, nope, that is NOT where I belong. That is not my path.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~e.e. cummings
In some ways, it would be easier to follow what is becoming more and more common in yoga - super-fit, focused on the body, gathering large numbers of people in classes. These classes certainly do attract larger numbers of people, than restorative, gentle, or beginners classes do, at least here in Ottawa. And I'd "fit in" with the fitness-yoga images I see all around me, in the media, etc. But yoga is giving me the courage to really open my eyes and see who I am. See what is truly important to me. And stay true to that.
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955