Monday, May 24, 2010

They Keep Ringing the Bell

Nelson? Here. Redente? Here. Comperchio? Here. Roman? Here. Hendrix?.....Hendrix?.....Hendrix?.....

A Yoga teacher friend of mine once told me that the Yoga class is not for the evolution of the student, but really for the evolution of the teacher. She couldn't be more right. The whole process of the class continuously spurs me towards a higher vibration. This could not happen, however, if the students never showed up.

One of my secret little pleasures of leading Yoga is taking roll call in my head. Before I get to class I frequently wonder who will show up. And many times is like a game of BINGO. It might be an odd assortment of bodies and personalities that don't make any sense at all. Sometimes, it's just the four corners but it works. Sometimes I get that perfect straight line that just goes together. But the big winner is when I fill the board with every shape, personality and experience level.

I will celebrate my 5 year anniversary of being a bonafide, certified Yoga teacher on July 1st. Being a Yoga instructor, as with any career, there are ups and downs. Sometimes I'm so on top of my game that I am amazed what comes out. But for the most part, I wonder why the students keep coming back.

(And if you are not one of my students and you are reading this here's how it works:
I have a little control, but not much, over what comes out of my mouth during class. I start each and every class in prayer to my Guru, first and foremost, and then I'll call in other ascended masters if I need more help. Then I'll start class "under my own steam", so to speak, but at some point, an intuitive higher guidance takes over and "we" (the higher vibration and this incarnation called Me) lead the class, kind of, hand in hand. I know it sounds strange and it is extremely hard to explain, but that's the best I can do....)

So, during times of doubt, when I'm wondering why they (my students) keep coming, is when I receive my greatest lessons. It is usually during these times when one or more of the following is occurring:
A) I'm not in tune with my body.
B) I'm cranky/tired/_______ (fill in the blank).
C) I haven't been practicing myself.

It is usually during A, B, and/or C when I have that " I don't want to be doing this" feeling. I'll force myself to go to class and once we get started breathing together as a community, that feeling goes away. By the end of class, I will feel 100% better than when I got there and it is a constant reminder of why I do this. And although my regular students probably know this about me, they still keep coming to class.

Some of my students have been coming to my class for all 5 years and some have only been coming for 5 months. The ones who have been coming for 5 years are the biggest challenge. Some days I say to myself, "I've got nothing left. I've taught them everything I know. They could lead this class better than I can."...... But they keep coming.

This has forced some deep introspection on my part. I have had to find confidence where I frequently think I have none. I have had to dig deeper into my own practice to see if I actually do have something left to give. And I have to pat myself on the back when I find something that I had forgotten I knew even when I have taught that posture or breath a million times.

I'm not looking for compliments either. I'm just exploring that part in each of us where confidence and belief in ourselves resides. So often we prefer to bash ourselves. I see it in students all the time. So I have to lead by example, right? Even in Yoga. Yikes.

I share a lot about my life with my students. I'm just a student, too. This is really important to me. I want them to know my struggles and how I apply my Yoga to live my life fuller and with more vigor. I think they appreciate that I try to make Yoga accessible to modern life.

I know a lot about many of my students. They, at some point, will divulge things about themselves. It usually starts with their physical issues and then, just as the physical is connected with everything else, the rest of their lives start to take shape. Some of them I know nothing about and embarrassingly admit I can barely remember their names. But they keep coming. Some of them don't want to be known and that is ok. They keep coming too.

There are a handful who are actually my teachers. They teach me about life, call me out when I'm bullshitting and love me when I'm down. There are even a couple who are like guardian angels who magically showed up for no reason at all and have protected me when I needed them. These few I stand in awe of and they know who they are.

I'm a huge Seinfeld fan. I've seen every episode probably 10 times. Geek, I know... There's this one episode when Jerry's hipster dufus neighbor, Kramer, ends up driving a public transit bus as he was being accosted by a robber. As Kramer is relating this adventure to Jerry he reveals that he kept making all of the bus stops to let off the passengers. Jerry, in his disbelief, asks Kramer, "You kept making the stops??!!??" And Kramer replies, "They kept ringing the bell!"

And that's how I feel. I'll keep making the stops as long as they keep ringing the bell.

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