Seriously folks, I have the best yoga students. Really. As yoga teachers, we are really the receivers of it all--everyone who either loves religion or doesn't, people who love politics or don't, people who come from all walks of life, those who practice like veterans and let you know it to those who have never had a yoga class ever. One of those guys who attended my Spiritual Mothers' Day ROSE PRACTICE yoga class got an eye-opening experience as his first ever yoga class. I laughingly told him, "It's not always like this!" He smiled and told me that he really liked the class and would be back again. On Mother's Day. We score them wherever we can. ;)
Some days, teaching yoga is really quite difficult and other days, it's hilarious. The Rose Practice was a mix of both of these for reasons all their own. In this particular class, I was part teacher, photographer, comedienne, and a helpful rally of the hilarious. Who knew, but that rose that everyone received provided enough of a catalyst to be both an interesting obstacle, a source of comedic relief, and to show students what it's like to add more challenge to the essence of balance. I only had portions of the class planned and then I let the rest of it come intuitively with the students, I loved it. I loved the creativity. I loved how adding in one rose brought out more smiles, more fun, and more communion whether those students were mothers or not. It wasn't a requirement and everyone was included, welcomed, and embraced. It didn't matter your size, your experience, what you knew or didn't. All you had to do was try. That's the beauty of the Rose Practice.
One of the older guys in class, as I gave him a rose along with his wife, told me a great wedding story about the rose. He said, we were given a rose and asked two things about it (1) What makes it perfect? and (2) What makes it imperfect? When you look at a rose, it's really easy to talk about its beauty and all of its best features, but to look at something so beautiful and talk about its imperfections is not as easy. He said, "When you look at a rose for its imperfections, what you see is what makes every rose different, and it's still perfect." This is what happens when you don't treat students as numbers and more like people. They tell you awesome things about life and they remind me that I don't have to have all the wisdom. We can imbue it together.
The Rose Practice incorporated little ideas like "Smelling your rose" and really partnering up with the rose because it essentially travelled with most of our movements. Whether the students started off graceful or not, the idea of working with a rose seems to incite grace and I could tell the students really took part in this partnership. It was such a great partnership for me that I felt naked without the rose in my next teaching class! The idea of this partnership is that it is an extension of you, something you are aware of, pay attention to, appreciate, and care for as much as you would care for yourself. I think spiritual mothers understand the idea, and there were even moments when the rose was cumbersome and not appropriate for what we were doing so we had to set it down for a bit. That didn't mean it was forgotten (just like kids or partners are not), but there are some things in life that you do yourself, and some where having the right partnership brings out even more grace than you knew you had. It adds to you rather than taking away. I know, yoga is bountiful with its innate wisdom. :)
The beauty about catching all of the perfect and imperfect, the learning and the perfection, is that we can see what life is really made of. I tell students often the yoga is the practice of your life, ie. what is in your life shows up in your body, how you practice, and your essence in the practice. I'll see people with serious social anxiety, nursing injuries, having a bad day, completely new to yoga, coming in with a chip on their shoulder, coming in with something to prove, or just shy or depressed who will completely transform within one yoga class. I'll see myself completely transform. I could be having a bad day when I come in and then I surrender into my teaching and let the wave of the Spirit come in and then it all shifts. It's magical.
One time, I talked about social anxiety during the breath practice in meditation and one of the older students in one of the big classes I teach (where social anxiety can be common) told me that she noticed our class being very closed off in the beginning and then completely open and free by the end. I'd like to think that the Spirit and yoga is really that powerful on the mind, the emotions, the body, and the personal spirit. It can offer security and safety in times that don't always feel safe and secure. I feel its effectiveness in me and I love that students truly find themselves so powerfully in class. One student even told me that coming to yoga class is better than church because you can truly connect and transform. Often, I would agree. It's all a matter of how much ego is present, and what part of it transforms. In yoga class though, you are an active participant in the transformation and for some, this is very worthwhile on spiritual and personal levels.
Yoga is about honoring, respecting, communion, awareness, awakening, shining, health, balance, and everything that makes you whole. Yes, you may have to deal with a teacher's ego or ego of students, but what makes this practice great is that what you start with is rarely what you end up with if you pay attention, practice, listen, and take part. There is certain beauty, and the Rose promises this. It is certain, just as you are. There is no mistaking our capacity to transform some of the darkest places if we participate. Those who are weaker in some areas are stronger in others, and those who are quiet in some places are the voice in others. It's powerful, rich in substance, and elegant. Sometimes it's messy, but even the practice has a way to clean up the mess. On this Spiritual Mother's Day, we made a powerful showing in what matters in life, and I hope to see you in yoga class again soon!
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