Over the past 4 years I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different sports: cycling, running, dance (social, modern, hip hop), Capoeira, Karate, swimming, weight lifting, etc. All of which are great workouts; you gain a skill and get strong in the process. You sweat out your stress, escape your day to day responsibilities, and return refreshed. So why am I choosing to teach Yoga over strengthening my skills any of the other sports?
Yoga is about loving yourself. Not in the stereotypical LA superficial way, but in the kind, considerate, take care of yourself before you take care of others way. I started doing this before Yoga. Catholicism challenged me to practice most of the same values: love others, treat your body as a temple, and avoid the vices (greed, envy, etc). Having a difficult person in my life helped me practice some of those virtues, like turning my anger into kindness or trying to approach a bad situation in a calm and understanding way. Since I left the religion I’ve held onto the same fundamental beliefs but I have missed the community. I found that community in Yoga. There is nothing like joining a group of like-minded people. What’s more is that Yoga introduces and cultivates these positive moral and social habits in its practitioners without the overarching umbrella of religion. A yogi can choose to incorporate as much or as little of the beliefs as they want, but either way they will gain the benefits of strength, stability, flexibility, and calm through practice. The elongated breath, the heat you build, and the focus you work on in class translates to a calmer personality off the mat. Strength and stability build confidence and self-worth just like any other sport. I believe that anyone who practices Yoga will feel better as a person in areas of their life other than in the studio. These are a few reasons why I want to teach Yoga.
I think the idea I love most about the philosophy is that you should pay attention to only your practice. Avoid comparing yourself to others because you will always be different and you will change from day to day. Listening to your body and your needs is the best way to getting better at Yoga. If you feel you can push yourself, then push yourself. If you feel that you need to rest, then rest. There is no judging and no right or wrong. I think once people truly accept this concept in their daily lives they can finally be comfortable in their own skin and will find some contentment or peace. Don’t conform to society; find out what is good for you not what people tell you what is good for you. Ally did a talk last year about this idea and she explains it pretty well. I’ve included the link below and I agree with everything she said. I’m glad she’s my teacher because she is definitely someone I can look up to. (I am finding inspirational teachers too, AJ! ;-D )