In the past two months I have learned a lot about myself, life, family and I am still continuing to discover more about myself during the continuous journey of teaching.
Firstly, I understand now even more that being a Yoga teacher is being a student for your lifetime. This journey so far has helped me to let go of my past and move on….Stop punishing me and let go of my guilt and my ego quieting down..
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. We all have our own truths and yoga takes us through such an individual journey, unlike anything else I have experienced so far in my life. In Classical Ballet I was taught to be either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ dancer, to have a ‘suitable’ or ‘non-suitable’ body structure and to do the poses ‘correctly’ or ‘incorrectly’, everything is about aesthetics and superficiality and to survive the competition. I was part of a structural system that dictated me to do as I was told and not listen to my body, love my talent and feel it.
Eventually, my body screamed so loud and I had no other choice and give up my dancing career to not have a hip replacement by the age of 35.
Then I started Yoga with home DVDs. After a while with hatha classes, Bikram and later on Ashtanga and now Vinyasa. I thought I was listening to my body..…
Two months ago I realized I wasn’t. I was pushing my body to the edge and sought again after a structured system, which made me feel not allowing me any freedom to question, whether it felt good for my body or even, whether I was injuring it, fighting with myself on the mat.
I have always a been good in improvising when I used to dance and had a creative spirit and Vinyasa Yoga helps me to enhance this creativity. For me music and movement in form of asanas, help me to quieting my mind and focus on my breathing. Don’t get me wrong I still love other yoga styles and practice them, but more mindfully without pushing my limits any more.
I learned that Yoga is not all about the physical part of asanas. Through our course and discussion on the Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita, I was able to understand what in my life has repeated itself numerous times. Situations I ‘ve been in that have always made me feel uncomfortable, intimidated and even bullied at times. I gained my voice to speak my ‘truth’ through this course, my teachers and my fellow yoga practitioners. All my life I was chasing a career and money. I didn’t listen to my heart. Something always didn’t feel ‘quite right’. And this time I changed my path in my life consciously without trying to worry what the future will bring.
This is for me a major milestone as I have always been too scared neither to ‘open up my mouth’ and speak my truth nor to change my professional path to something that I love practicing every day without feeling that it is my duty.
Through this course I also restarted my own daily home practice, which doesn’t make me too depended on set yoga class times. I can organize my life the way, how I like to schedule my day and enjoy yoga on a daily basis.
Teaching fellow yoga practitioners is so rewarding and I love bringing them closer to themselves through yoga. It’s for me like giving us a piece of freedom, openness, compassion and peace in our minds. Mind you, teaching isn't always easy, as I can tell we need to be vigilant and hold on to our freedom and openness. Sometimes we become complacent and think we know everything, happiness will constantly prevail within ourselves without guarding our mind and consciously listening and being aware of our breath. But we don’t! We constantly learn and learn each moment and day. We have no time to not be vigilant or aware of our mind, our kleshas (afflictions: ignorance, ego, attachment, aversion, clinging to live), taking over in moments that aren’t that easy to handle. It is like a cloud slowly covering us and before we even realise what is happening, we see ourselves in darkness and in the same old thinking pattern: worry and despair. However, now I notice when I sink into the negative thinking patterns and feel vulnerable. The past tend to catch to up with us. The worry of the future starts to cloud our better judgment. That’s where our asanas, pranayama and dhyana helps us to be aware and recondition our thinking. Discernment is another great factor that we've been taught. I love this word ‘discernment’ as nothing in life is ‘black or white’. Every one of us speaks their own truth, and we are here to communicate our truths and question them. We can help each other. Be compassionate and just ‘be’. We always ‘do’. And finally I just want to’ be ‘ me. Take our practice off the mat in our lives.
I have been in many yoga classes, where you’ve been told: that this is the way how we teach yoga…. just breath through it (especially in times of physical discomfort or even pain), this is the way how it is…. Without ever giving us a reason why it is this way.. And I never questioned it! I love the fact that we've been taught to question things and to try to find out, why we do certain things in a specific manner. We've been always told, why we did specific things in class. Maybe we will gain better understanding after we ask why or most likely the other person will start asking why and tries to find the answers. This gives me even more so a reason to listen to our fellow yoga practitioners and learn from each other and empower us to have a voice. Empowerment is such an important concept and we tend to forget that we don’t need to make others dependent on us and vice versa we don’t need to depend on others. I have no intentions to force my specific yoga style upon a fellow yogi and tell this person what is correct or incorrect. Every body is different and we should worship our bodies as our temples. Ahimsa (non-violence) is for me my close companion in everything I do. I have focused on Ahimsa as I haven’t taken care of myself for a long time.
Since then I try to be as mindful as possible in my own practice and when I teach. I try to understand how my body and our fellow yogi’s body function. Not everyone has the same anatomical, muscular and bone structure and therefore I like to continuously learn how Yoga is so accessible for everyone. It is very important for that we teach yoga in a safe way so that we can avoid injuries as much as possible. We cannot control how our fellow yogis use their bodies, but we can try to create a safe haven within our class. We, ourselves are our own worst enemies and that’s why Ahimsa helped me to stop pushing myself to the limit, accept how my mind and/or body felt like in this particular moment, accept my surroundings and try to work within myself, as we can’t change others unless we reflect exactly what we would like to welcome in our lives. The ‘mirror effect’ another so important subject..
This whole teaching journey teaches me daily how to live my life and I am very happy that we had great teachers, who have guided us through this journey. Thank you for empowering us and not make us depending on you and teaching us to empower our fellow yogis. Every class I open and close with ‘Namaste Namaha’ I imagine our circle and it warms my heart!