One thing that shocked me about being a yoga instructor is the monumental life lessons I learn from my students on a minute by minute basis. My own practice as a student is ALL about me! But teaching is not about me at all. In fact, as the guide to your practice I'm truly the least important breathing thing in the room. And as the least important breathing thing in the room, ironically, I feel so beyond privileged to be there because YOU all teach me so very much about the human condition. I was always the kid who asked the why question. I studied philosophy professionally for six years because I had so many "why's". I asked the questions that called upon people to really dig deep and look in and get uncomfortable. And the cool thing about my job now is observing how you navigate that ocean of discomfort. You are answering all my why questions one breath at a time.
Here's what I do in my class. Whether you're sweating your mat apart in a vinyasa class or you're cursing and squirming in a 3 minute dragon lunge during yin you have taught me something very important about the human will. I have put you in a physical pose (an asana) that is uncomfortable and that requires you're one hundred percent focus and attention. You are now in a place where you cannot be distracted by a phone, or a friend, or an errand. You are here on your mat in a position where you have no other choice but to show up for yourself. And hell do I ever understand how hard this is. I see the way you look at me when I tell you that you still have three more push-ups to go. I see you when you feel like you want to cry in a stretch that you have only just arrived in. But you stay, and you show up. Or you leave because you know it's just not for you. Whatever it is, I get to see the strength of your will. I get the see the power behind your eyes when you tell yourself to keep going. Even when a very loud part of your mind is wishing I would tell you to stop.
But you stay.
And you show up.
And I hope you understand the depth of this showing up.
I hope you see this showing up for yourself as your most important pursuit.
This showing up for yourself; this telling yourself that you can when you so badly want OUT, is truly a miracle in this world. We live in a world that pulls us away from ourselves every second of our waking lives. We zone out in front of screens, and engage in habits and behaviours that are not filling our cups. Sometimes we spend time in places or with people that do not absolutely nourish our souls. We are literally always being tempted and pulled away from ourselves! So watching you not only show up for yourself, but choose yourself in a moment where you are truly challenged is such a miracle. You follow me to the uncomfortable place and you show up, fiercely, even though there's an open door waiting for you to leave and back out.
And I have also noticed one other extraordinary miracle in this happening. I see you when you want to throw in the towel and say that you have had it and you're finished. I have seen you in that vulnerability, and in that tiring. I witness your internal battle of whether you should stay or go and then the moment I tell you that you can, and that you are able, I witness another miracle. Suddenly an energy zaps through you and you are alive and there and willing once again! You breathe louder and you are literally a bunch of Supermen and Wonder Women. Once again you have returned to show up for yourself. This is the magic of the human will. And I know how strong it is because when I tell you that you can, you take my word for it. My word - the word of the least important breathing thing in the room - the word of (to most of you) a stranger. This tells me one thing. We have the power to choose ourselves and to be strong and show up; but sometimes we need a whisper. Whether it's your yoga teacher or your barista at Starbucks who spells your name right on your morning latte. Someone to reinforce what is true. Someone to tell you that you can when you want to throw in the towel. Someone to tell you what you already know you have deep down is still in there.
Your beautiful strength is within you, I promise. My dream for you is to hear yourself saying "I can" by cranking up the volume on your inner voice. I will help you practice making your inner voice stronger and louder so that when you are not on your mat, you can show up for yourself just the same. So you can witness the miracle that is you, and bask in it's glory the way that I do when you show up in my room.
The light in you is all I see.