Monday, November 26, 2012

when things change

Have you ever read something you've written and rolled your own eyes at your self?

That just happened to me. I was working on the December newsletter and was reading some things I'd written years back. This is where the eye rolling happened:

"We focus the mind in the moment and choose gratitude and contentment."

Blah. Blah. Blah.
My oh my, how things change.

I'm not at all saying that this isn't an option. It most certainly is. These words will ring true and inspire some. At the same time, they will annoy the piss out of others. It depends on where the student is in his/her own life.

For a long time I thought it was my job as a yoga teacher to show up and shine in a sparkly way. I was to be perky and perfect, in my soft sweet Sharon way. I thought teaching and being yoga meant I'd only radiate joy. Anything less was unyogic of me. Therefore the words and cues I used in class spoke to feeling good. Radiating joy and any other positive spin I could put on it.

I might as well carried around a jar of cherries and popped them in the mouths of students as they grunted their way through chair pose.

Pop. Pop.
Breathe. Now smile.

I had been working on this before the shit storm erupted that is my life right now. (I really should come up with some way that better describes multiple traumatic losses, but for now a "shit storm" it will be.) Anyway, if I had taken my classes in the past I'd probably want to eat my very own sweet yoga face off.

Because the honest truth is that yoga asana is not easy for the most part. We are doing some really crazy, often times uncomfortable stuff. We're bumping up against our weaknesses, fears, tension, and rigidity in addition to our ease, joy, strengths and sweet spots.

Life is not only the light.
Life is not only the dark.
It's both, in fairly equal portions.
We only have to look to nature and see this beautifully mirrored back to us.

What I'm learning is that my job as a yoga teacher is to simply meet my students where they are.

Leeann Carey speaks and teaches to this brilliantly as far as the body and pose is concerned.  When we as teachers are not meeting our students "where they are" physically, we are more likely to prohibit progression and get in the way of growth. We are not to force a student to any position they are not ready for. We are risking injury.

And we're doing so in more ways than one.

It's not my job to make them feel any certain way (not even good). It's not my job to take them out any any experience they are having, whether it's joy or sorrow. It's not my job to force a feeling, even in a subtle round about way.

It's not my job to pop a cherry in your mouth to sweeten the experience of chair pose when really you want to physically, mentally, and/or emotionally grunt and growl your way through it.

I consider it my job to teach students to be aware of how they're feeling in the moment. Once the awareness is there, students can get curious about ways to shift the feeling OR simply sit, stand, breathe and be in and with it.

It's their choice. Not mine.


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