I am fond of saying: yoga is how I engage.
On the mat, it is how I engage my body and breath. Off the mat, it is how I engage my life.
Yoga is about relationship.
We have the Yamas and Niyamas. We have Dharma. We have meditation and pranayama (breath) and asana (postures). We have teachers who teach by example, by being students and by living life with integrity.
We have students who come to classes to exercise, to relax, to open their hearts and experience a release from the day to day stressors of life.
This is the same stage other teachers play on as well as students. This platform is different than that of most of my friends. And for my students it is a reprieve in an otherwise stressful life.
Many have kids and marriages and day jobs. Yoga is a world where we say Namaste; yoga is a world where we celebrate the Divine in every breath; yoga is a world where we send positive messages.
But the world of relationships is dicey.
At home, where there is intimacy there is no room for resentment, for it poisons love and blinds forgiveness. At work, we see people often five days a week and we may not like them or respect but we have to act as though we do, more often than not. We have bosses who can treat us with or without respect. We work hard. We may not be given much gratitude for what we do in the office or, God forbid, for working with the general public.
We have friends who are like family and we have family we wish we could befriend.
Life can rob us of our bliss. Work gnaws at spirit. Family makes demands because that’s what family does. Friends are here but one of the gifts of friendships is that there is a certain freedom, room for difference, room for change, room because sometimes we all need to pull back and care for self.
I work to keep my bliss.
To keep my bliss, I find peace when I teach. I find peace when I do yoga. I find peace taking walks with a friend.
To find peace, and experience joy, I have to know where my stuff begins and other’s ends. I have to realize when a student does not smile or react to my words that chances are it has nothing to do with me. I have to remember when a friend does not return my call, experience tells me it’s their life that got in the way, and it was not me.
I have to keep lines open with my husband so I can be sensitive to his needs and his space while still taking care of my own.
I have to know when my dad has shingles at 86 and is terse, he does not feel well.
Yoga helps me with this in three ways:
- Yoga keeps me embodied: I move out of thoughts and into my being.
- Yoga keeps energy flowing: I recognize a feeling and move it through.
- Yoga develops awareness: I watch myself on the mat, off the mat, in teaching, practicing and relating.
We need boundaries. We need to know where we begin and end.
Life constantly gives us opportunities to learn and to grow. Yoga is the staff that keeps me standing tall even when the road has rivets and boulders. I use it all, on the mat and off.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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