Tag Archives: teaching

Lives to Save

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Tired, working hard to be prepared
for a workshop I’m teaching tomorrow
and those old scoundrels jump into my brain,
The Perfectionist and the Critic.
They let me know all sorts of things:
You should’ve had this done by now.
You don’t have enough authority to teach this.
It’s going to be a flop. They’ll want their money back.
Why aren’t you more organized?
You don’t have anything worthwhile to say.
You should just give up right now.
And I say:
Wow!
Thanks guys, really appreciate it,
everything you said is really helpful,
and I’ll be sure to take into consideration
what you shared with me…
AND,
I’m going to get back to work here.
I don’t have time to wallow in self-doubt.
I have lives to save.

 

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Thank You Mom

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If I am strong, brave, resourceful,
If I know how to laugh with my whole heart,
if I know how to smile at a stranger
and speak to them until they are a friend,
If I know how to work hard in my home
and move with integrity in my world,
If I can speak my truth clearly and fearlessly,
If I can comfort those in need
and discover the solution
where others perceive problems,
If I can see the deeper meaning of all things
and love the essence of this universe,
it is because of you, Mom,
and everything that you taught me.
Thank you, a million times,
thank you.

Generosity for the Self

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Here I am again,
just two days before another workshop,
feeling unprepared, anxious,
a bit panicky
and self-critical, asking myself,
Why didn’t you pace yourself better?
When are you going to grow up 
and stop procrastinating?
The topic of the workshop is generosity.
And as with all things that are important in life,
I must experience it first
before I can hope to teach anyone else about it.
So I start with myself.
I am generous with compassion
for the tired mother
who is trying to make everyone happy
and who often forgets about her own needs in the process.
I blanket her in forgiveness and reassurance.
I let her know that she is worthy of love and happiness
regardless of the outcome.
I remind her that her self-worth is not at stake here
and that she has done the best she can
in the midst of the chaos of daily life.
Okay, this looks good on paper,
but these are just words,
and talk is cheap.
Now let me practice it for real.

Before I Lay My Head Down

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Read man: he is the living poem.
–Vivekananda

I am tired
but there is much to be done
before I lay my head down on the pillow.
I want to be good.
I want to be prepared.
I want to make it through
the long day tomorrow.
If I’m going to make it through,
I need sleep.
But there is so much to be done
before I lay my head down on the pillow.

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I’m teaching a workshop on the practice of gratitude tomorrow, and in keeping with my normal fashion, I waited until tonight to complete the handouts I’ll be giving my students. Forty-one pages later, I’m finally printing the things out, and JEEZ is it taking time! Thank goodness for printers!  Thank goodness for this blanket keeping me warm down in the cold basement.  Thank goodness for all of my craziness, that one day I might know sanity.

I Have the Best Job in the World

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Feeling blessed.
Twenty three souls
came to restorative yoga tonight.
Twenty three souls
gave me permission to touch them,
to help their bodies let go of tension.
It is an honor and blessing
to be with my students in this way,
to be a witness to their unfolding.

I have the best job in the world.

Swirls of Thoughts

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Many thoughts, swirls of thoughts
then remembering what is real.
I take a breath, then another,
close my eyes…what do I feel?

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Only thirteen days until my workshop and I’m now feeling pressed to have everything be more concrete, to find a logical flow and sequence to the material I am presenting, and to make sure that I meet the needs of the workshop attendees–who will certainly arrive in many different shapes and sizes, different ages, different motivations…I’m planning on doing my best to appeal to the various learning styles, and I’m wanting to provide ample time for movement so that no one starts to feel achey or bored or sleepy. I am excited and at the same time overwhelmed.  How can I distill these precious teachings given to us by centuries of wise and compassionate masters into a form that is palatable to today’s western mind?  How can I present the material in such a way that my students will want to continue learning and practicing after the workshop is over?  

Attending to My Own Practice

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Confession:  I don’t practice asana as regularly as I think I should.
Truth:  I am damn busy between being a mom and wife and the seven group classes and two private lessons I teach every week.
Truth: I play Candy Crush Saga, and Lexulous, and Words With Friends, and Word Chums on my iPhone whenever I have a spare moment
Truth: When I can get a nap I’ll take a nap
Truth: Babysitters are expensive

Conclusion:  I probably could practice more often by eliminating iPhone games and napping.  I probably could practice more often by being willing to pay a babysitter to watch my kids so that I can leave the house and attend a group class.  My reasons for not practicing just don’t hold water.  Why am I not practicing more?

This morning I attended Mysore practice for the fourth Sunday since the beginning of May.  I missed two because of my yoga teacher training and then being sick, but other than those two times, I have committed to attending Mysore every Sunday morning so I can get at least one full practice in per week.

After teaching and teaching and still more teaching, it feels wonderful to roll out my mat and just be a student, to have my attention on my own breath and my own body instead of on the breaths and bodies of my students.  There is a certain amount of relief and then exhilaration that arise when I settle into the groove of my practice and flow from pose to pose.  Relief because my body begins to unwind as I bring awareness to places where I was unconsciously holding on.  Exhilaration because I can feel the potential I have to grow in my practice, not just on the physical level, but on the mental, emotional, transpersonal, and spiritual levels as well.

On a few occasions, I have tried rolling out my mat at home, but it’s hard to get a complete practice in unless both kids are napping, which rarely happens.  Do I need to commit to practicing outside the home?  Or can I make peace with the noise and messiness and all the interruptions and practice when my kids are up and about?  Perhaps a combination of home practice and studio practice…

Although I am tired, I feel peaceful.  This morning’s practice gave me just what I needed.  I resolved to not push my injured shoulder too much, and although I felt self-conscious about modifying my sun salutations to avoid all chaturangas, I just went with my instinct and breathed and made the practice my own.  The room was full of bodies which made it very hot, and I found myself sweating and needing to take sips of water now and again.  The girl next to me knew the series much more than I, so I was grateful to have her there; watching her out of the corner of my eye helped me to avoid constantly being stuck looking at the sheets they give the beginners to help them know the sequence.

I finished off with some restorative yoga and then took a shower.  It was almost time for my class, and I felt ready.  It’s amazing how being a student informs my teaching.  I felt on point, much more aware of my students, because I had just spent so much uninterrupted time in my body, time that grounded me and helped me to remember what it feels like to be on the mat, learning.

Grateful right now.  Looking forward to the next practice.  May I overcome inertia, may I ignore all of the excuses my mind creates, may I melt any resistance and attend to my practice more regularly.  I believe the whole world will benefit if I do!

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a student learns.
when she becomes passionate enough about what she has learned,
she feels moved to share this learning with others.
she attempts to teach–
but feels lost in the sea of responsibility that is teacher
out of her element,
she asks to be taught how to teach
and this is a sacred moment indeed.
learning how to teach
her heart opens
humility blossoms
and the earnest drive to serve is born.
the student is now the teacher,
ready to help, to guide, to inspire awakening
this role is powerful, and sometimes causes ego trips of all kinds.
let her still be a student
let her attend to her own practice
and in the netherworld between learning and teaching,
there is simply being and breathing,
and this is a sacred moment indeed.