A few weeks ago I taught a karma class at Essential Yoga. Usually in the days leading up to a class I feel alight with creative energy. Bursting with ideas, my flows come organically and there is no shortage of both asana and philosophy to be woven together into a class plan. The lead up to this class was different. Suffering from an anaphylactic attack the week before, my body was worn out and my energy levels sapped. The upcoming class was on my mind and was something I was looking forward to. I wanted to feel the zeal I usually did when given the chance to teach, but it just wasn't happening. I devoted a significant portion of time every day to reading yoga philosophy, and while the philosophical inspiration was abundant, the asana flow still wouldn't come. As my class approached, I decided to re-use a lesson plan from the previous month. I wove a different set of philosophical teachings in and made a few other adjustments, but for the most part, it was the same. When class time arrived I found that the buzzing vibrations I usually get while teaching were absent. Part of my mind was distracted with the idea that I wasn't giving the students enough because I hadn't designed a flow specifically for the philosophy and intention of the class. My confidence in my plan shaken, I glanced at my lesson plan often and stumbled a bit over my words as I guided them from posture to posture. As class closed, I spoke again on the theme, which was finding focus on yoga as a journey inward. The words came from the heart and they flowed organically and easily, but I wasn't focused on that, and as I left the room I felt a bit downtrodden, as though I had failed the students who'd come to practice that night. And then the first student came floating out of the room. Her face was aglow, her steps light and airy. A smile emanated from her very being, not merely from her lips. "Thank you, that was amazing" she breathed the words out melodically. A spark of humble gratitude lit my heart centre. I hadn't been listening to my own philosophy lesson. Yoga is about working inward, not working outward. The postures were secondary to the energy that we had created together in class. It was the internal focus that was important, not the flow. It was my turn to smile with my whole being as a thank you graced my lips. As always, teaching affords so many chances to grow and learn if we keep our hearts humble and our ears and eyes open. I bowed internally to the yogi who had come to my class as a student and emerged from her practice that day as my teacher.
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.