One night I woke up to the adoring snores of my beloved Pekingese Cashmere. He took up half the bed as he usually does. I rolled him onto his back and rubbed his belly. He stayed there for a good long while. Then, I moved him back on his side and he laid there again, unmoving and utterly trusting.
You might wonder what this has to do with teaching. It really goes much deeper than the art of teaching yoga. It has to do with love.
Once upon a time, I used to move Cashmere when he took up so much space on the bed. I used to get flustered when he wouldn't eat when I wanted him to. But, my better half pointed out to me that he has a very short life compared to ours and we need to make it the most amazing life for him as possible.Little things that we do now communicate to Cashmere that we love him with absolute uncondition. He knows it without a doubt.
On the other hand, I wonder if my mom knows that I love her too. It dawned upon me that I was more like my mom than I chose to admit. Growing up, she always pointed out the flaws in me. I was not pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, Chinese enough. She told me it was her job to tell me what was wrong with me and that everyone else would not be truthful.
My mom had to have another knee replacement and has been staying with us for the past few months and has about another 5 weeks to go. We have very different views on many things. But, I still love her...with conditions. Why? Where's me?
So starting today, I will go forward helping her heal not only her newly replaced knee but also her broken body and heart. I will praise her when she looks particularly youthful in her face. I will remind her she's doing a good job keeping up better posture. I will compliment how good her feet look after I've been giving her weekly pedicures and massaging them with coconut oil.
So, this is why I teach yoga. It's not because I am the most knowledgeable, experienced or devoted Ashtangi out there. But, I choose to see the best in people. I see their inner beauty and potential for them to realize it too. It's utterly worth it to me to sacrifice everything I have to open this studio to witness the growth people are willing to share with me.
I knew for a while I needed a deeper connection with my students. I just wasn't getting it teaching 60-80 people in a class. I wanted to experience the intimacy of smaller classes. I now know each person who walks in through our doors. I know their name and why they started this journey.
They've trusted me with their healing process. Healing comes through acceptance, encouragement, guidance and compassion. I found building strength led to more confidence, better relationships and more real connections. I'm not just talking about physical strength, but the mental and emotional gusto to give it a shot, fail, fall and try again. How many different ways can we translate this off the mat? It's countless.
It's my life's passion to help build you up so that you may help someone else feel loved....unconditionally.