Before we begin a practice, I love to chat with the people who come to class- I love hearing their stories and allowing the energy of the room to be filled with warmth and engagement towards one another. Somehow, this dialog among yogis allows the room to relax and welcome kindness for each other and especially ourselves.
Because I mostly teach Power Yoga, I like to remind the class (especially anyone new to yoga) that I am simply a guide, suggesting the scenery that they might take note of during their one hour journey with me. Though I may point towards a Bridge,
they might choose to see the Plow…
The 60 minutes they are on their mat belongs to them. I feel honored that they choose to allow me to be their guide, but they must be the master of their own personal travels.
Last night, my class was filled with beginners, first timers, and seasoned students. Because it was so diverse, I spent our opening minutes guiding them through a conscious effort to check their assumptions at the door and to open their hearts to the flow within their body and heart. Rather then determine beforehand what they could do (leading with their mind), I suggested they let their heart guide their flow.
Oh, what fun we had…
When I have planned to introduce a more advanced posture or balance,
I like to take the class through a flow of some basic, yet wonderful postures-
Warrior I, Warrior II, Reverse Warrior, Side Angle & Triangle… and into Sun Salutation
This is a flow that allows one movement per breath and creates a very fluid and smooth rhythm in the body. Though the body is working, the mind can transition easily because it is a familiar and natural pattern.
As we take the flow for the second time, I suggest “adding on” the more advanced versions of some of these postures. Between Sun Salutations, I offer an arm balance
and before entering our relaxation, I suggest an inversion…
At the end of class, I love to ask if anyone attempted a posture that they have never tried before. Without fail- there are several people with smiles the size of Texas and animated affirmations that they caught the energy of the moment and did something they didn’t think they could!
And I am always pleasantly grateful when a class full of strangers looks around-
not to compare-
but to celebrate the individual victories of their fellow yogis!
This thought from Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul, is the best way to end a class like this,
Watch the surfer as he works his way out to sea. See him watching the waves, waiting for the right movement, the right timing, the right swell. Sometimes the wave comes quickly. Sometimes he has to tread water patiently for a long time, waiting and watching before he can ride the wave.
A surfer must wait for the swell of the ocean under their board-
Catching the perfect wave cannot be planned nor predicted…
It simply must be anticipated and then FELT…
The surfer could try to stand before the wave comes, but the effort would result in stagnancy,
The surfer can go too soon, or too late- but that ride will yield disappointment
The surfer can fight the current of the ocean- that ride may result in being tossed at sea,
The surfer can wait patiently for THEIR wave, the swell within, that will result in a flow and rhythm that melds surfer and ocean into one united and powerful ride
Daily Journal Challenge:
Mentally picture yourself on the ocean of your decisions, plans, goals, or dreams! Consider if you are forcing yourself up before you are ready or holding back when the perfect wave comes… Take note today of PAST experiences when you caught the perfect wave and take faith from knowing you can do it again. Enjoy the opportunity and anticipation of that swell within that will drive your ability to ride the wave.