Yoga is NOW. A yoga practice is something that focuses your attention on what is in front of you. You are so immersed that everything else is out of your mind. Being on my mat does this. Teaching yoga does this, too.
Throughout my teaching career I have gone through many personal events. I’ve moved mutiple times, gotten engaged and planned a wedding, been pregnant and had a baby, and on and on. With each of these things my personal yoga practice has served me well. I was able to be on my mat moving and breathing and refocusing on what is truly important. Teaching has also provided me a space to be present.
A couple of weeks ago I went to my OBGYN to check up on an ovarian cyst. The size of the cyst had gone down since my previous visit. To be safe my doctor wanted to do a blood test to rule out ovarian cancer. So I found myself in the lab 15 minutes later clutching a paper with the words “Cancer Screening” on it and fighting back tears.
Now, my normal way of processing things goes like this: My mind goes crazy thinking about all possible outcomes – I cry because I envision the worst possible outcome as the most likely – I talk to my husband, Mom, or sister – I calm down. Before practicing yoga this process would take multiple days. Now it can last as little as one hour. (Huge progress!)
On this particular day I went to teach my next class less than 2 hours after having my blood drawn. My mind was spinning with the possible outcomes. On my drive to the studio I was taking deep breaths to gather myself together and thinking about my sequence for class. And as soon as I walked through the doors – I was present. I said hello to the studio staff and my students. I got the room ready and talked to students with injuries. And I taught my class. I was fully focused on what I was teaching and the students in the room. I literally didn’t think about my personal mini-drama the entire class. By the time I left, I was clear and centered again. I was breathing. I felt deep down that everything was going to come back normal with my test (it did).
There are many other reasons that teaching yoga is a yoga practice. But on this day it was what got me out of worrying about the (nonexistent) future and pulled me back to what was right in front of me. My students – smiling, present, and ready to learn.
Photo by Roger Scheck