Many sages and scientists believe that the universe began in a tiny still sweet spot and just began to expand and became larger and larger and larger and then all of a sudden began to become smaller and smaller and smaller again…..throughout trillions of years and then back to nothing. And then it began again. We are beings reflecting nature in every way. So the breathe is one sacred act that all sentient beings share. Plants breathe as well, to be connected to everything, it is in our Prana Yama. Waves are like the breathe. If you feel the wind brushing against your cheek it is as if mother earth is breathing her exhale onto your skin. With no words to describe, if you stay connected to breathe you stay present.
People come into a Yoga class for answers. They want rest, and peace, and love. They want to trust you. In this world they cant even trust theirselves. They may not know what Yoga is but Yoga has certainly a reputation that is associated with a person sitting in a state of stillness and people want that silence. How else can they get it. So they come to Yoga and they are there because they trust you. Especially if you have built a few tribes around your teaching, those beautiful faces keep coming back. As a Yoga Teacher, we have a lot to live up to. We must give ourself to others humbly, kindly, authentically every single class that we teach. How do we do this in a Western world using a 5000 year old practice. This is the question.
Many years ago when I first began traveling around for Yoga, I went to a Yoga class and I will never forget this class and not for the right reasons. It may have very well been one of the last times I traveled for Yoga because the experience was not awesome, and I was a new Yogi. The woman was only what i can describe as “haughty.” I could tell she had a little tribe in there and of course we already felt like outsiders,. She had no warmth. Did we do some pretty cool yoga poses, yeah. Did I get a good workout, yeah. Was she an experienced practitioner who could put her foot behind her head, yeah. Did I ever go back. NO.
There is a quote by Maya Angelou that I have read quite a few times in my class, actually i’ve built many classes around this quote on many occasions because it is just so powerful and so true. “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” This quote accurately describes the most important moments of our lives. I remember this every time that I teach. This is a time that I have pure presence and I better not blow it. This class is not about me. This class is about connection, trust, spirit. This class is about how the people around me FEEL when they leave. It is our birthright to feel alive and connected to our life force and breathe. It is a gift we should be reminded to enjoy many times a day, but i have one shot here. This is my purpose.
So as a yoga teacher I believe it is vitally important for us to first come to the conclusion of why we wanted to do this in the first place. And a truly good Yoga teacher will always say and MEAN that they do it to have that connection to others. To be of good in the world. To bring peace to others lives and purpose to our own.
So in a Western World, when most people have no idea what the premise of Buddhism actually is, sometimes people do not know what to expect. And most are rather surprised with the pureness of Yoga. The simplicity is actually very profound. The simple reminder that our spirit is widely alive and inside our bodies and has nothing at all to do with our mind noise is quite extraordinary to think about. My favorite part of class is in the end when I sit in easy seat getting ready to bring everyone out of Savasana, and i look around at my people and see how vulnerable and relaxed and beautiful they are in their own true essence. I always say a little blessing to the room before bringing them back. I find this to be one of my favorite moments in my days.
So simple, so sweet, and so close to our truest essence, stillness sits at the heart of it all. Maybe it really is just this: breathe, move, let go.....