Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
As I reflected on my weekend driving south through the prairies toward the mountains, toward home, on Monday, every cell in my body twinkled with inspiration. My head was floating with ideas and refined techniques for my classes and workshops, but I wasn't flitting around in la-la land un-rooted as often happens when our creativity takes over full force. Instead, I was grounded firmly with a newly renewed belief in how I teach and in my ability to help people, and with a wealth of scientific and anatomical knowledge to back it up. I was rooted and floating. If chakras are your thing, you might say mine were perfectly aligned.
When I started teaching I had an un-wavering belief in my abilities. I knew what I did worked and I believed whole heartedly that the people who came to my classes would be able to find what they needed there. How did I know this? It's really simple. I knew how my practice felt in my body (and it felt damn good) and I had the confidence and the humbleness to know it may not work exactly the same way for my students, so I wasn't afraid to cue my class to take a different route rather than hang on my every word and instruction. Fast forward to two years after I took my first teacher training, as I find myself beginning the journey toward my 500 hour teaching certification, and one of the first things that the teacher says to us is that we need to let go of the idea that by-the-book alignment in a pose, or overworking one muscle by hitting the same or similar poses in a sequence is of benefit, that a "harder" sequence, a stiffer practice is "better" or more beneficial (to question if it is of benefit at all even), but instead to discover what things feel like in your body and to ask our students the same thing. To use that as our roadmap. To understand the science behind what works our muscles, what affects range of motion, what is truly beneficial and actually works to achieve balance on and off the mat. To treat each student as an individual with a unique body that may not work exactly the same as our own - or anyone else's for that matter, and to honour that individuality in ourselves and in our students. To respect ourselves and other teachers enough to teach as individuals, not carbon copies of a text book or someone else, because we aren't all the same and that, that is important and should be honoured. It was my teaching philosophy, being taught to me. And make no mistake, I'm sure the universe put me there to re-learn it, and just to make sure I was listening, to learn it from a very experienced yoga teacher swimming in anatomical certifications and with an amazing and enviable practice and ability to intelligently teach that practice, the strong aspects and the soft, to others.
There were a few things I had to process on my drive home. One was how had I let someone else's idea of what I should be teaching affect me so much? Enough that even after removing myself from the reach of the person's negative influence I was questioning myself in my classes - despite the universe sending me numerous opportunities and voices of support to remind me that her actions had to do with her insecurities, not with me. This was hard for me to look at. Somewhere along the way I had lost touch with that sure, confident part of me and had started letting outside situations and actions affect me.
The other realization that struck me was that I was still doing it. I had left the unhealthy environment, I had kept moving forward and continued to teach and be inspired by the world around me, but I hadn't found my footing on my own, I needed to hear someone else teach my theory on teaching yoga to me in order to feel validated, in order for me to get "back to myself" in my teaching and my confidence level as a teacher. I had needed external validation to offset the external criticism. I wasn't home yet.
But I was on my way.
I'm off tomorrow to start my 500h training in Edmonton. I'm thrilled and I can't wait to share with you some of the inspiration and insights that I'll be all fired up with when I get back to Fernie next week! Until then, here's a little update on some of the exciting things that I've got going on.
Five punch classes for my regular, in-town classes (check the schedule section of the website for dates and times) are on sale at an introductory price of $40/pass. That works out to only $8 a class. No expiry.
Retreat to Nature at Island Lake Lodge
PS. Visit my Facebook page Coraley Letcher Yoga and click on the Retreat to Nature event page for a special offer.
Tonight I taught the first instalment in my Ignite Your Intention series. A large part of the workshop focused on the difference between a resolution, like the ones we make at New Years, and a sankalpa, or divine intention, a yogic concept usually assosciated with yoga nidra. The difference being that a resolution is often made attaching meaning or value to the end result and is usually motivated by a negative. A sankalpa on the other hand is propelled by love from the still, calm center that resides inside all of us. The focus isn't on finding happiness after achieving the end result, because the person making the sankalpa is already happy and content from within themselves. The purpose of a sankalpa is to manifest your deepest desires by focusing positive energy towards it. As part of the workshop we did a centering exercise to tap into that stillness and calm. It takes 9 breaths and you can do it anywhere, anytime. There are three affirmations that are key to this practice. I am enough. I am already whole. I am love.
Close your eyes and begin to let your mind follow your breath. Follow each inhale and exhale and let the process of mind watching breath take you fully into the now. No outside thoughts. No busy mind. Just your inhales and exhales. On your next inhale breath say to yourself: I am enough and on the exhale release any doubts, fears or negativity that arise with the affirmation. The next breath inhale: I am already whole and breathe out any doubts. The third breath repeat the process for I am love. Do it from start to finish three times. Nine breaths, each affirmation repeated three times. Stay still and just breathe for awhile before opening your eyes. 💖
I'm just a yogi in the mountains of British Columbia. If you've found your way to this site, it's very likely that you are too. Here you'll find information about my upcoming classes, workshops and retreats via the link to my website, as well my thoughts on yoga philosophy, what music I'm pumping in class, pictures, videos and other news about yoga and spirituality.