What do I hope students learn in my class?
Self-acceptance. Humility. Compassion. Commitment. Peace. Stillness. Focus. Dedication. The list goes on.
Notice I didn’t mention anything about flexibility or handstands. I would be very happy for you if you came to my class and got stronger and more agile, but I’d be a heck of a lot happier if you came to my class and learned to love yourself even if you fall short of those things. Beautiful asana doesn’t impress me. Hard work does. Perseverance does. Want to be the most advanced student in my class? Love yourself despite your flaws. Fall and get back up again. I don’t give a hoot if you can touch your toes. I care that you come to class, put in the work, and accept where you are with grace and humility.
You see, asanas (yoga postures) are just tools we use to learn about who we are on the deepest level. They are not the goal in and of themselves. They simply serve as a microcosm of our lives. And they work so well because our thought and behavioral patterns come in to crystal clear focus during our time on the mat. This is because very few, if any, of the variables present in our day to day lives are with us on the mat. We have no one else to blame for our reactions and no one else’s drama to contend with. Its just us – our body, mind, and soul – all alone on our mat working out our shit. You cannot hide from yourself in the midst of intense practice. At least, not for very long. Eventually, this practice will break through those defensive layers and expose you at your very core. It’s frightening and exhilarating, and it’s an experience you’re unlikely to replicate outside of your yoga practice.
Our daily practice, then, is not about handstands or backbends. It is meant to be a laboratory of self discovery, acceptance, and growth. It is a path to a higher truth and deeper purpose.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you ever jump back into chatvari position or put your leg behind your head. What matters is that you practice with discipline and dedication. That you practice regularly. That you practice with an open mind and open heart. That you are willing to put in the work without the expectation of immediate results. It matters that you practice for the sake of practice, cultivating gratitude for whatever comes of it. The formula works. It may be hard, but it’s also very simple. Just practice. That’s it!
So, what do I hope students learn in my class? I hope they learn that they are worthy and capable.
I hope they learn that they have what it takes.