I am participating in a challenge geared towards energizing my yoga teaching. Today was the first day of the challenge, and the question asked was about branding. What is your yoga brand? What do you stand for?
I found myself thinking about this a lot today as I taught three classes, in three different styles at three locations. I also had the opportunity to receive some feedback about my teaching from a very seasoned practitioner, of which I am grateful. So as I ended my day with a few moments of pause and reflection I found myself asking, how could I describe what I bring to the mat in just a few short sentences.
I came up with: I stand for finding self-compassion within the recognition that where you are is exactly where you are meant to me. I bring this into my classes through slow thoughtful movement with holds and pauses in the willful practice in which we can surrender, feel, experience and accept.
In every class, no matter how active, or how gentle, I hope that the students feel compassionate towards the limitations and the strength of their body. I hope that through breath, pause and awareness they can start to love themselves just as they are. Not to love the person they will be if they only could < insert something to change here >.
Yoga has given me such a gift in loving all the parts of myself. Loving my tight hamstrings that can make it tough to fold forward. Loving my belly that needs to be moved out the way when folding into pigeon. Loving my arms that are long and sometimes not very strong. Loving how balanced I am, or how windy it is in the class when my tree refuses not to sway. In loving the parts of me that I wish I could change, I find that they do change, mostly because I see them differently, but also because I realize not loving them means not having true compassion for myself.
I hope that I can relay this to those I lead. I hope that my style of slow movement creates the spaces they need to feel okay being exactly where they are, inflexible bits and all.
If you're interested in learning more about this challenge it is through Yoga Teacher Prep a wonderful resource if you were considering taking a teacher training, either to teach or to deepen your own practice.