Do you ever think that we yoga teachers are calm and serene all the time? Well, I can only speak for myself when I say, I am definitely not! I gravitated towards yoga, at first, for the physical benefits as I think many do. I was a personal trainer and an aerobics instructor for years. When I did yoga, there was something there that I liked but I didn’t trust it. I know that sounds weird but, coming from the fitness industry, I had been convinced that all staying fit and healthy was hard work and often unpleasant. It was something that I had to do, not that I didn’t enjoy it at times. Yoga felt different to me. It felt almost too good to be true, and for a while, I dabbled in it but would always come back to what I thought was the real way to stay fit and healthy, the gym.
When I wrote this passage for the pose of the month blurb on the newsletter; “The key to a life long love affair with your yoga practice is to approach your body and your practice with a sense of patience, compassion, love, and gratitude for what you can do, not what you cannot. There is nothing magical about being able to do certain postures and there are always more to to try.”, it got me thinking.
For many years, I felt like the fitness world was my spouse, and I was cheating when I snuck off to do yoga. Ha, I have said it! Each time I went to yoga, which got more and more frequent near the end of my work in the fitness industry, I would come back feeling more centered, grounded, yet healthy and energized at the same time. When I made the decision to leave the gym behind and focus on yoga full time, (a long story but a good one for another time) I have never looked back. The truth is, I don’t feel calm and serene all the time but I am more comfortable in my own skin that ever. I owe a lot to my yoga practice. Not just to what I do on my mat but the decisions that have been made, the relationships nurtured, and the honesty and compassion that my practice has cultivated. Never mind the fact that I really am in better physical shape than I was when I was in my 20’s working out hours a day!
For me, staying present doesn’t mean a constant state of anything. I am and will always be in flux. Staying present, for me, really means; an acknowledgement and patience with my tendencies to be scattered, a deep gratitude and respect for all that yoga is and gives me, an incredible desire to pass on this system that has changed my life, and a fleeting glimpse of what I know to be the beauty of this moment right now.