You may have heard the word ahimsa, but weren’t quite sure what it meant. That was me. Then my yoga instructor talked about it one night before we started our class practice. Now, in the face of all the violence making the headlines and the havoc raised by folks drenched in hate, I’m trying to embrace ahimsa more than ever.
It’s been one week since I returned from my amazing three-week vacation in France. It was both everything I had hoped for and so much more than I could’ve ever expected. There are so many aspects of my trip that made it special—from being in a country I love, spending time with one of my best friends, to the endless lazy days spent on the beach drinking rosé. But the true gem of my trip was what all of these things offered me, and that was the gift of space.
When You Aren’t The Most Flexible Yogi On The Block: One Woman Finds Her Niche As A Teacher
Who is eligible to become a yoga teacher? Those with X number of years’ experience? The most adept practitioners? Anyone who wants to?
The Buddha said, “I am not enlightened, I am merely awake.” What does it mean to be awake? Most of us spend our lives in relative states of “un-consciousness.” Sometimes we undergo a big, dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime awakening—such as a near-death experience—or we can occasionally experience subtler awakenings, such as hearing a story that resonates deep in our beings and creates a shift in consciousness.
When I take a few moments in the beginning of the day for myself, it makes all the difference. Instead of spiraling into stress, I float forward with ease and a bit of enthusiasm. Contrary to popular belief, dedication to a yoga and self-care practice doesn’t need to take hours of your time. When you need it, a simple ten minutes can point you in the right direction. Approach your day with a smile and one or more of these practices:
Life is the living art of balance. Balance is a beautiful concept, rooted in the exquisite imagery of Yin and Yang. For most of us, the attempt at balance is more like a circus act of hither and thither, with multiple moving parts flying about our worlds in an unpredictable and mysterious way. As we all strive for our perfectly expressed version of “just the right amount,” it’s important to remember a few essential things to the practice of balance.
Last time I went to the airport, I saw a small boy with his hands and cheeks up against a large glass window. He watched the planes take off over and over again with a look of awe smudged across his face. His reflection held a sense of luminous possibility, as if he realized he could fly too. I stood there, tired and anxious to get to on my flight, witnessing something magical.
We are always looking to find the magic bullet—the thing that will fix everything for all time. What would be the fun in that? Where is the mastery and challenge in life when we just want to do something once and be done with it? We are always wanting to check things off the list. It’s part of being human. So how do we drop into commitments, and doing something better for ourselves? We must commit, but then recommit by making our new habits bulletproof.
Of the many wonderful things I’ve learned through my yoga practice, some of the best have come from exploring poses and theories that scare me. For some of these poses, the fear has risen up and I’ve acknowledged it, without the need to delve deeper at that time. For others, I’ve moved past the fear with the desire to take up the challenge it presents.
Yoga is such a gift to all those that have the opportunity to be touched by its unique and special gifts. Opportunity here is the keyword, as yoga is truly a privileged experience that isn’t available to all. There are many individuals and communities of people that, for various reasons, won’t ever be exposed to the healing potential of this practice. This past week, when teaching a yoga class to a group of at-risk, sixth-grade students at a low-income elementary school, I realized just how important it was to gift the experience of yoga to these kinds of groups.