Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trying to reconnect...

I have a confession to make. I have become very detached from my personal practice of yoga - detached from it as a sadhana, or a spiritual practice - but also detached from it generally. To be a little less vague, and a lot more honest - I haven't been practicing. Period.

I love yoga. I obsess about yoga. I teach yoga for a living, so it isn't that I've stopped doing yoga all-together - that's just not possible. I have to run through poses and sequences in order to plan my classes, and when I teach a class, I usually spend at least 50% of the time demonstrating as a I teach, so physically I've been DOING yoga. But my personal practice has been non-existent for about two weeks now.

I feel guilty, I feel anxious, I feel nervous about this - I really do - but as I told my yogini-friend Hannah, with whom I graduated from Kripalu, "I know I SHOULD be on my mat. But I just don't wanna. I don't know why. I don't want to do yoga." She responded, simply, "then don't." She reminded me to ride the wave and that my practice would always be there waiting for me.

My disconnect from personal practice is completely unrelated to my teaching, though. In fact, on Saturday I taught the best class I've EVER taught, at least from my perspective as the teacher. It felt PERFECT. It was challenging, woven together with a contemplation on intimacy (with self, with others), and I think I even saw a few tears being shed, and not from holding a pose for so long it hurt. =) So I'm wondering if backing off from my own practice has helped me focus more on the art and skill of TEACHING yoga. Maybe it's an ebb and flow - I need my personal practice to inform my teaching, but it doesn't have to be simultaneous, if that makes any sense at all.

This is a hard balance, this teaching yoga gig - having my personal passion so intimately tied to career. I feel like I can't possibly be the first yoga teacher to struggle in this way. I'd love some input from fellow yoga teachers. Or working musicians, artists, chefs... anyone who has tried to live in a way where what you do for YOURSELF is also what you offer to the world. Have you ever struggled in this way? A similar way? A different way? What do you do?

...and the weirdest thing just happened - having written this down, I suddenly have the urge to get on my mat and practice Danny's gentle audio class. Not sure if the urge is strong enough to actually DO it, and I have to teach in a couple of hours anyway, and need to get ready, but it's nice to feel the twinkling of a desire that means the world to me.

I based my (perfect! HA!) class on Saturday around a quote I first heard at Kripalu last year, that has deeply informed how I approach other people - even the people who drive me CRAZY. To be fair - I've actually felt this way since before I had a quote to go along with it. I remember telling a dear friend a long time ago that sometimes I would see a person sitting alone on their front porch, or make eye-contact with someone in the grocery store, and FEEL their loneliness/fear/joy/anger in such a profound way it made me want to weep. But this is the truest thing I know about relating to others. Look at anyone - ANYONE - and think:

Just like me, this person has known suffering.
Just like me, this person wants to be happy.
Just like me, this person is learning every day.
Just like me, this person wants to be loved.
Just like me, this person deserves compassion.
Just like me.
Just like me.

Intimacy - Into me I see.