30 January 2009

My Yoga Journey

Why do people come to yoga? Some go to become more focused and to learn about their inner selves. Some go to improve strength and flexibility. Some go to increase circulation in their bodies and release toxins. Some go to let go of stress, chaos, worry, and fear. Some go to live in the present. Some go for a spiritual practice. Some go simply to feel better. Regardless of the reasons why people come to yoga, they all have to do with change.

One part of yoga, of course, is physical poses. However, yoga is much more than exercise. By holding difficult poses on the mat, people learn how to be calm in uncomfortable situations in life where they might otherwise flee, yield, or fight. Instead of becoming slaves to external situations, people are able to take in the situation and decide how to react with discrimination. By learning to lengthen and calm the breath, people learn to calm the mind and get rid of all the chatter that goes on in the head. They may not make the connection that they transferred the knowledge they learned from yoga to situations in their lives. However, regardless of whether the knowledge is conscious or subconscious, a change occurs within those that regularly practice yoga that helps them to live more calmly and with more awareness of their actions and emotions.


My teacher training with At One Yoga was incredible. I learned so much, but as with any new endeavor, I definitely recognized my weaknesses as well. I went into it thinking I was pretty good at yoga, and found that I often needed to adjust my alignment and fix my posture. I was humbled and my ego went right out the door (which was a good thing). I have been teaching children for years, but when I practiced teaching yoga to a group of adults, I was a complete bundle of nerves. I stumbled over my words and lacked confidence.

I feel like I have grown so much in this last month in both my own practice and my teaching confidence. I have still only scratched the surface and have a long way to go, but I have the satisfaction of leaving a little smarter, a little stronger, a little more flexible, and a lot more enlightened on the ancient practice of yoga.


Besides gaining in depth knowledge about yoga anatomy, pose adjustments, Sanskrit (the language of yoga), yoga philosophy, and different forms of yoga, here are some of the most valuable things I took away from my education:
  • "I offer what I have to offer." When teaching, I have to be true to my own personality, my own talents, and my own limitations. Trying to imitate another teacher and be just like them will not only be fake, but will not attract students to my class. If I find my own niche, then people will be naturally drawn to my class because I am being real.
  • I have to accept that I will not be a master teacher at first. This is hard for me with my perfectionist nature, but I have to work on incorporating one thing at a time, and know that I will get better.
  • Teaching yoga is about the students, not about me. I should not be worrying if people will like me, if my words are completely fluid, if my poses are perfect, if my music is good, and if I am doing it right.
  • One of the most important things I learned is best put by the yogi, T.K.V Desikachar:
"We have to pursue our career, gain qualifications, and do everything else that is part of normal life. All these things should be done as well as possible. Yet, we can never be sure of the fruit of our actions. That is why it is better to become slightly detached from our expectations and to pay more attention to the actions themselves."

I find this to be completely in line with a recent admonition we were given by a leader of our church.

"This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now." -President Thomas S. Monson

This is the great journey of my life - to enjoy each moment and to live in the present. To let go of things that are unimportant and surrender my will to God's will. Along with my own spiritual beliefs, I have found yoga to be one more tool to help me in that very endeavor. I have found that yoga is a spiritual practice with physical side effects. I hope to be able to share the wonderful knowledge I have gained to help lift the lives of others.



5 comments:

  1. That looks challenging and rewarding! How fun that you got to go!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cool pictures! I'm so proud of you for doing this. Can't wait to see where your yoga journey takes you next!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! Those pictures are incredible. What do you plan to do next with your Yoga?

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's awesome Lindsey! I really like yoga, although I've only done it a few times. I never would have thought there was so much to it to learn and grow from. Have fun and best wishes as you find your niche :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This post made me want to try yoga, it sounds amazing.

    ReplyDelete