One of my yoga teachers uses a sufi quote that goes something like "do not try to draw from your well when it runs dry, instead draw from it when it overflows." I realized during that class that lately I have been drawing and drawing and drawing, but not replenishing at all. I've been busy caring for a sick two year old, ignoring my own cold, missing my favourite Saturday morning class with Heather Ivany and allowed my home practice to become inconsistent. I've given myself every excuse under the sun while doing so - from "I'll get back to it once the little guy is feeling better" to "all this subbing just throws off my plans for the day" to "this cold just really wears me out." But the fact is, whether it is true that life gets chaotic, we get ill, or plans fall apart, that there is only one cause for not tending to our practice and staying inspired, and that cause is ourselves.
The experience of teaching is, for me, a symbiotic one. There is a give and take between student and teacher that creates the class. So, on Monday, I found myself asking whether I have been holding up my end of the bargain. And the answer was that I wasn't. The experience I strive to create in my classes includes the sharing of yoga philosophy, inspiring music, creative flows or sequencing that fulfills the students and leaves them relaxed and rejuvenated. There isn't a set formula for this experience. It comes from the teacher's inspirations, practice and energy and in turn the students feelings and energy complete it. And I was dropping the ball on fulfilling those aspects of my life and practice. I was letting the excuse of un-scheduled classes and a busy home-life disrupt my commitment to my practice, my health and my "me" time, and as a consequence, I wasn't bringing inspiration, a strong personal practice or energy to my teaching.
So what is the solution? Teach less or take on fewer subbing jobs? No. I love to teach and teaching keeps me happy, fulfilled, purpose-full, and, when I'm not using excuses to drop the ball, very accountable to living my yoga and to my practice. I recognized the feelings I had during class, felt them more deeply as several of the students complimented me (not because I didn't appreciate them, but because I felt in my heart that if I didn't make a change, I wouldn't be able to keep giving them the classes they deserve) and I knew that the time to be pro-active was now. So I stayed and took the class following mine. I didn't worry that I needed to eat, or that there were things at home I needed to do. I tended my inner fire and began to replenish my well. It wasn't the be all end all, I've still got work to do, but it was a step back in the right direction. The well bottom is now damp, instead of dry and the well keeper a little wiser, more vigilant, and a better yogini after the lesson. Namaste.