Yoga has been a dear friend in my life for over 30 years.
It has always been for me a practice of the heart—an essential posture of eyes closed, palms together at the heart. This as is how I begin my yoga practice and every class I’ve ever taught.
The very first yoga class I attended was back east in Boston, MA in the 70’s when it was still very India exotic. I figured if the Beatles liked it I should give it a try. So I donned shorts and a tee shirt and went to a class in a somewhat ragtag downtown studio.
Surprisingly, I realized quickly, I both knew nothing and everything about it. It was instantly familiar and a pleasure for my already flexible body. I took to it as naturally as loving my dog, understanding that it gave me a sense of all’s-right with the world.
Ten years later I was teaching yoga in Portland where, at that time, there were probably only 3 other yoga teachers. I taught for 15 years before my leap to South Africa.
- I used yoga daily to get me through the dreariness of chemo therapy.
- And to help me center when deep in the varied crises and challenges in Rooiboklaagte with Mapusha.
- These days I use it to help me stay well positioned after I read or hear some particularly disturbing news clip.
There are hundreds of yoga teachers here in Portland these days, but when I went to a local class recently I was disappointed. The class was all about the body, this muscle, that muscle, this joint and the other. I felt as though I were in an exercise class.
I was soon bored.
The reason I attended that class was because I had been inspired to offer my own yoga class for the first time in 10 years. This time I would couple yoga with hope. Ten people signed up to join me and shine their hopes for the new year.
Anything that allows us to be more aware of ourselves and to feel connected to ourselves and life is a form of yoga. Yoga reveals the luminous intelligence and the beauty that lies within us.—Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati
I began to teach as I have always taught, eyes closed and palms together at the heart. As I continued to lead the flow, I remembered what it is to lead others in yoga.
I re-experienced how I use my own love for that breath-centered flow called yoga to lead others to their center, to soften their hearts and nourish a tender connection to body, self and world. After all, the official definition of yoga is union.
This picture of a lion in South Africa is the perfect image of what I expect from the practice of yoga—a sense of peaceful joy.
It is one of those odd life spirals that I am enthusiastic about sharing my own form of yoga with others once again. As I use the practice to keep my heart soft, my feet grounded and my head wide open to hope, I want to help others do the same.
I hereby add my own form of yoga to the list of ways to contribute what I know to help make this world what it can be, should be, will be.
Inspirational Speaker, Coach, Yoga teacher—that’s me!