Paying it Forward: A Thank You to my teachers

People ask me what my favourite part of teaching is, and I would say that it would be when students realize that they can do anything.  ANYTHING.

Why?  Because I know that feeling, too.  It’s utterly intoxicating.  There’s just no greater feeling.

To me, a very important part of teaching yoga is trust.   In my experience, students move forward more bravely when they trust the teacher – when they feel their progress actually matters.  Sharing the joy of progress also fuels  more growth down the road.

The past couple of classes I’ve taught, I’ve witnessed several major (physical) breakthroughs in the regulars.  Had it not been unprofessional, I would’ve jumped for joy in the hot room for them.  An even better part is when the students are in shock of what they had just done!  In those moments, I cease to exist, it is all about them.  As their vulnerability lay in a puddle of their own sweat, their inner power grows.   I don’t know who wouldn’t humbled by witnessing that.

I’ve had amazing teachers who helped me find those moments, those breakthroughs in my practice.   The only way I know how to thank them properly is to give the same to my own students.  And as a reminder to my fellow teachers…one day you may inspire a student to return your good will to others.

As I continue to teach, I pay it forward in gratitude.  I encourage you all to do the same.  Your world will be better for it.

100 ways to be..

In a few days, I will be finishing up an educational endeavour that has taken up a lot of my time the last 12 months.  It has taken me far away from my yoga practice, where I found myself too often having to choose between conserving my energy for long study days or getting on my mat.  While I know that yoga gives you energy (etc etc etc), sometimes, we just have to make peace with our choices and prioritize.

I am happy that I am at a point in my practice where I am ok with not being able to make it to class as often as I am accustomed to.  Observe me a year ago and I’d have move heaven and earth to make it to a yoga class or practice at 2 am if needed.  These days, each rare class has become this sweet indulgence, where I could savour each posture because I knew it would probably be my only one that week.  My years of dedicated practice is helping me stay in decent physical and mental shape, for which I am grateful.

Surprisingly, my physical practice hasn’t changed much.  In fact, there were days when I was shocked at how much stronger I have gotten – maybe it’s a byproduct of that pure indulgence and savouring (or that I have extra reserves to use up ha!).

Now in a few days, my time will be mine again to do as I please.  I am so very excited to return, happy that I was not made into the prodigal daughter or made to suffer each time.  The yoga gives and gives in so many ways!

In celebration, I am dedicating myself to new goals and new heights.  I know that I am stronger, and am very curious to know where this will take me.  So, with the help of fellow yogis, I am committing myself to 100 classes with them from now until April 30th, 2014 (150+ days).

It isn’t quite a 30 day challenge (it’s a kinder, more forgiving).  It is more of time frame where I will set small, incremental goals and see where I find myself at class 100 (think SMART goals for your yoga practice).  My goals: I want to be stronger.   I want to get past my plateau in standing bow.  I want to be able to transfer all the energy I had studying books into studying more yoga.

I’ll be a little more honest:  sometimes I get lost when my time isn’t filled and well, in a few days, I’m nervous I might just get a little lost again.  I swear I’m not one of those people who glorify being busy (I like my sleep and rest much more) – it’s just that I get really, really lazy and gluttonous when I have too much freedom.  I also tend to have too much time with my own thoughts and that’s not always a good thing.  A decent structure helps me thrive.

If you feel up for it, come join me and other yogis to discover the 100 ways to grow, to be stronger, to be freer, to be anything that you set your goals to be.  Join us on Twitter by sharing your experiences using #100ways.

As my sweet friend Catherine says, let’s find 100 ways to be awesome.

Cheers and see you on the mat.