Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Meditation of Gratitude

Nearly everyday, I find myself in a constant state of awe. I go into each yoga class I'm instructing in a slight state of nervousness. Will my class be okay? Will the students like it? Will they be satisfied? Will I be able to instruct well and guide them safely? Will they come back to another one of my classes? (Photo: Heather Taylor)

I'm not going to lie. There has been many, many times where I've mixed up things like my rights and lefts and my hips and shoulders. I've said things like, "Make sure your knees are directly underneath your shoulders" as I guide my students into tabletop. Thank goodness most of them have common sense and that we all have a sense of humor.
One of the studios I work at have an extremely loud heater. I affectionately call it the "Monster in the Closet" and say hello to it if it comes on during class. The YMCA I sub at likes to make overhead announcements in the middle of savasana. My playlists have delighted some and made others grind their teeth. I've forgotten entire sequences. I draw out my down dogs as I frantically skim over my written-out classes to stay on track. People have burst out laughing in my classes when I tell them to bind hands around one thigh and hop their other foot forward.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is that I'm just human.

I am a human being who can get into wheel but please don't watch as I try to do seated wide legged forward fold. This is why I'm in a constant state of awe. I'm always nervous when I begin a class, but as I see my students move gracefully into each pose, breathing, and becoming more mindful, I'm amazed that this is happening because they came to my class. They trust me enough to guide them, to give them the words and poses to use to connect with themselves.

They trust me enough to keep coming back to my classes. They trust me with their artificial hips and arthritis and out-of-shape bodies. They trust me with their chattery minds and busy lives. They trust me with their goals to become healthier, happier, and more grounded. Wouldn't you be in awe if that happened to you?

I am so grateful that I am in this position. It is such a rare thing to experience and I get to experience it on a nearly daily basis. So everyday, when I wake up and prepare for my classes, sometimes I think, "No, don't let anyone come in. I'm scared to screw up and accidentally affect my students negatively." But then, as class begins, I can't bring up anything bad. It becomes impossible. The studio becomes full of such good energy and intention. As I guide my students through a beginning meditation where they find an intention to set their minds on, I can feel it rising through the air, filling up the space, and infusing us with energy to put us through our practice.

When we finish, cross-legged after savasana, I thank them wholeheartedly for letting me guide them and practice with them. There has been times where I've realized I needed the class more than my students did. I'm always so shocked to feel that, but I shouldn't be. It is the students teaching the instructor, practitioners sharing their love and energy in a single mindset. 

That, right there, is the power of yoga.

Take a moment, sit in a comfortable position, cross-legged or on your knees. Place your hands palms up on your knees and close your eyes. Take a moment to begin a mediation of gratitude. What are you in awe of everyday? What is your grateful experience? And who, or what, do you thank to make that possible?

With that, I am grateful for my students, my fellow instructors, the people who supported me in my journey thus far- my boyfriend, family, and friends, everyone at Black Swan, my car (really,) and anyone and anything else that may have aligned whether I've known it or not. Thank you.

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