Welcome to my new series: Off the Mat. The physical practice of yoga has given me an incredible amount of tools I use off my mat. This series will be a place to share those! I'd love to hear about your stories too! #comments
Come from 'we are connected.'
-Number one, of the Ten Tenets of Teaching Baptiste Yoga
I walked into the room to teach and the mats were all spread out, not in neat lines like I prefer. Everyone was organized and in their own space. Like a checker board with the floor. We started class and there was a variety of different practices; some very advanced practices, some new practices, some injured practices, and some medium speed practices. Everyone's flow was individual and their breath was individual, then they came to down-dog. I cued five breaths and suddenly everyone was in sync. They continued to move through their practices, each on their own journey and each coming back to a single solitary down-dog and five breaths of connection. I spoke to them about their breath and about how while their practice was individual, it was also communal. Then they flowed, and I listened.
I brought them up to utkatasana, and they all moved at different paces. I cued a forward fold and exhale and said "COME FROM 'WE ARE CONNECTED'". I cued "utkatasana, inhale" and suddenly connection. They did it three more times, fold, utktasana, fold utkatasana, they flowed with their breath connected, as a community. I listened.
Eventually they came to a long hold in plank. Their breath was quiet and disconnected. I spoke to leadership. "When you are your fullest expression, you give others permission to be their fullest expression. When you breathe, you remind others to breathe." I cued 5 more breaths and was quiet, listening.
This is what I saw: their bodies strengthened. Each individual pose was it's fullest expression. They were feeding off each other, giving AND taking energy, breath, inspiration. Then they lowered to their bellies together.
This is what I heard, this is what they taught me: in a time when humanity feels disjointed, when the news tells us more innocent people were killed, when hate is spread all over social media, and relationships are torn apart by beliefs, there can still be connection.
Those students, their practices, their connection, their individuality, could never know the power they shared with me that day; the reminder that hate is not driven out by hate but by love. Hate disconnects and love connects. If I come from "we are connected" then we are ALL connected and it is MY job to show up as my fullest self, day after day. To stand up for Beauty, Goodness and Truth. It's my job because there are people in this World who feel low, who are hurt and judged and mistreated. Who are outcast and unheard. There are people in this World who have lost everything, or someone and are broken. Right now, I am not, I have energy to give and strength to share. I have a responsibility to connect and to create wholeness in humanity.