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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Teaching yoga is a gift to me as much as it is a gift to others. I have transformed so much in this process. There’s no way I could have started teaching yoga without my own transformation. And because I’ve felt it, lived it, worked on it, sweat through it, fought with it, loved it, and released it… now I can support others as they go through their own process of transformation and healing. It is so unbelievably amazing to see others transforming on their paths and finding joy. To me, teaching yoga is a service to the folks on the mat as well as all of the lives and things that they touch when they are off of the mat. It truly goes beyond the classroom – teaching yoga is a service to the world!

I heard Sid say recently that teaching yoga is God’s work. What a powerful statement! And yet it is a statement that has really stuck with me and dug its way into my heart. It has not only impacted my teaching, but also my entire perspective on life. During yoga teacher training I didn’t quite know or understand what God was. It was a faraway and confusing concept that, whenever I tried to imagine it, just seemed to be a separate thing from me that I couldn’t quite grasp. I am now beginning to realize that God is consciousness, the spark of life, the vibration of love. Whenever I am conscious enough to see it, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of love that causes everything else to dim in comparison. The physical things and accomplishments that I’ve always viewed as “mine” become less important to me as I grow my understanding of how I fit into this new picture. It helps me to see that these things in life really aren’t about me … it’s no longer my yoga class, my house, my stuff, my achievements, or even my life. It is about being an instrument for the vibration of love to sing through. This is a place of freedom! I don’t look at yoga as a religious type of thing, but I do see it as a practice of growing love.  My teaching is simply a tool for showing people the way to discover that inside of themselves. Through this perspective, my ego backs way off. Whether  1 person or 100 people show up to my class becomes irrelevant. If I am an instrument for the vibration of love to sing through, then whoever wants to hear it will come.

I’ve grown a lot since teaching my first yoga class:

  • Creating a connected and safe environment is an important aspect of my teaching. Doing this gives others – wherever they are in their practice – the space and freedom to grow. I am especially growing my practice of speaking to everything in the room without hesitation.
  • Being present is, to me, the MOST important aspect of teaching yoga. I’ve seen and felt how a lack of presence resonates in a class. Everyone feels it. I have begun a ritual of setting my intentions and doing a short breathing exercise and meditation before class in order to align myself with the present moment. I speak to being present and dropping expectations of “what’s next” in all of my classes.
  • I teach what I know, not only in regard to the yoga practice itself, but also in the concepts and personal experiences that I share with the class. If something resonates with me and it is the right time to talk about it in class, I will share that. I enjoy sharing my own walk with others . I believe that the class appreciates it too.
  • I am growing myself as a teacher that fills the space with my presence. Being present is the first step. Getting out of the way so that the vibration of love shines through every word takes it to a new level. I’m also learning how to use more of my lower and middle lung to push my voice to fill the room. I’ve had to clear my throat a lot after class, which tells me that I’ve been using my throat for the most part.
  • The smiles that I see after class show me that I’ve left people to their own greatness and that each person has grown from his/her practice. I practice, what I call “Namaste” in each of my classes – remembering that the light inside of me honors the light inside of you.
  • I’ve come a long way with listening to how my words land with everyone. When I first began, I was nervous. Whenever I’m nervous, I tend to talk a lot. I had so much to say in my classes that I didn’t pause long enough to let what was said sink in with everyone. Now I feel much more comfortable in my teaching. I am conscious of how my words land in the bodies and hearts of the class. I pause, take a breath, and observe before speaking. No more diarrhea of the mouth!
  • I feel that my classes maintain an encouraging and empowering energy about them. Growing is a process of creating what you want, not beating yourself up over what you think you need to change. I speak to this in my classes and I feel that it resonates with those who listen.
  •  I am learning how to speak to what is missing without fearing that I’m being judgmental. I am beginning to see how necessary this is. I also see this as a way to get connected to each person in the class by showing them that you are paying attention. Most of the time (if not all of the time) people really appreciate that.
  • I am inspired by yoga and the transformations I’ve made in my life. Being the example and relating my own experiences has been my favorite practice as a yoga teacher. I feel that my teaching is inspirational to others – they want to take my class because I am practicing and learning exactly what is being taught in the class. I’m authentic in my actions and relatable in my words. When I first began this journey, I said that connecting and relating to others was a huge challenge for me. I gasp when I think of how far I’ve come since the day I said that!

Being the voice that supports others in finding their own paths to peace is no small task. Even so, I don’t feel like it is a burden. I have discovered a lightness to it that I didn’t have when I first began 200-hour teacher training. It feels good to be teaching yoga. It feels right. This is exactly where I need to be! I’m just so grateful that I found it. It has been a lot of work to get here, but it has been so worth it. I’m encouraged to see where the path will take me next. Many thanks to Sid and Lindsay from Sid Yoga Center for helping me find this wonderful gift. Thanks to my husband, Jeremy, for supporting me every single step of the way. I’ve been blessed by your voices, your work, and your kindness.

Namaste!

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I’m reading a wonderful and insightful book right now called the “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell. For anyone who might be interested in learning how to become a better leader, or even how to increase your understanding of the leaders in your life, I highly recommend this book! In my case, I have been interested for a long time on finding ways to hone in my leadership skills, figure out how to improve my weaknesses in leadership (I do have many!), and awaken or discover my own leadership potential. I’ve been drawn to learn more about this because I would like to increase my effectiveness and impact on the things around me. I would like to see my visions and ideas implemented in effective ways. I truly want to influence and help those around me in whichever way that I can.

I have to admit, though, that I’m finding out that there is much more to being an effective leader than I had previously understood! Leadership is an act of service that requires a great deal of dedication, patience, confidence, teamwork, and insight. I’ve discovered that I have a lot to learn.

Looking back on some of my past projects, I noticed that one of the greatest challenges on my path to leadership has been my lack of commitment to seeing through my endeavors to the bitter end.  As much as I hate to say it, I can recount numerous instances where I gave up on a project when the going got rough. Sure, I would tough it out for a while — perhaps even a few months —  but eventually I would rationalize that it was taking too much out of me and that I was better off dumping the project. It seemed that the more often I did that, the more that type of reaction would perpetuate itself in future projects.

The fact was that this had become a pattern in my life which caused me to lose confidence in my ability to lead and even lose some faith in my character. I had always thought that I had it in me to persevere, never give up, exhibit tenacity, and commit to something through the good and the bad — so why was I failing miserably every time I set out to do something? Gallant defeat, or “going out in a blaze of glory” was getting me nowhere… at least not where I wanted to go.

Well, I think (or at least I hope) the main reason I kept giving up on my projects was because I had been pursuing projects that had visions and goals that were not in line with what I truly wanted to accomplish. So yesterday I sat down, reflected for a while, considered what I thought my life vision was, and put it to paper. I had never tried to articulate my vision before – to be honest, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to put it into words! After some deliberation, I finally got something down.

What I ended up with actually surprised me! The vision statement that I wrote down ended up being the very same thoughts and ideals that guide me in my daily life. It reflects the perspective that I have of the world around me — it is a natural extension of myself. The first half of my vision are thoughts of which I have taken full ownership. The last half of my vision are concepts which I believe in concept to be true, however I am currently working to make them my own.

That being the case, if my vision truly reflects who I am today and the things that I strive to do,  how could I possibly fall away from my commitment to it?

With all of that said, I’d like to share with you the vision that I wrote down — the impetus behind my why I want to be a better leader, the reason why I’ve started this blog, the purpose behind my actions every day. As always, any thoughts or ideas are welcome!

My goal is to do what I can to help others enjoy life and appreciate the moments that they have on this earth. I want to encourage people to celebrate and accept diversity — to look deeply into the lives of others in order to increase their understanding and wisdom. I want to see people finding their inner calm and happiness, based on reflection and self-awareness. I want see motivated, and confident people who recognize their own worth and the inherent worth of others, regardless of their diversity. I truly want to see more people living lives of joy — willing to allow others to live joyous lives without being envious of their fortune or judgmental of their situation. I envision deeper connections, intimacy, awareness, and understanding between people and the creatures of the earth. I want see a world where the eyes of its inhabitants are wide-open.

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