What Does Your Flow Say About You? ~ Xenia G. Brat

Via elephant journal
on Aug 10, 2011
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Sometimes I humor myself thinking I might brighten people’s lives with my teaching yoga…

Just yesterday I had a lady who came in with a very friendly attitude and smiled throughout class. She left the room feeling very happy. She had a big smile on her face and couldn’t thank me enough for class. Sure, there were moments when she struggled.

At one time I walked up to her and she gave me a look that read: Oh my God, this is so hard!

But, instead she said: This… this class is… soooo good for my stamina! I can feel myself getting stronger already!—Big smile. After class she admired the surf art we have on our walls at Green/Flash. She shared how excited she was about taking a walk along the beach to go get lunch and she was psyched about taking the train back home. The train! And then she left, but not without reiterating how much she loved the class, and how adorable she thinks I am.

There she goes another happy camper! I thought to myself for a split second.

But, quickly I realized that Linda is happy wherever she goes, she smiles when she is doing crunches—or not doing them, she smiles when she’s in seated meditation, she smiles when she’s taking public transportation.

That’s the kind of world she lives in, that’s the type of person she is.

By contrast, the other day I had another type of person in class. She was the first one in and granted this was just a few minutes before starting time.

You’re not Lucy, she exclaimed. No, I’m Xenia, I’m subbi… She looked around the room as if to accentuate her next point and said, Well, and you don’t have much of a following, now, do you?

She announced she could only stay for 50 minutes, and she forgot her wallet. Or did she lose it? Or did someone take it? She wasn’t sure which one it had been.

Class started and she was constantly looking around, distracted and noticeably stressed out. The room was too hot and the music too loud for her. She was confused at times and grumpy always, to say the least. Thirty minutes into it my impulse thinking was I’m a terrible teacher. I can’t get this woman to let go, be here and mind her alignment. She did indeed skip the seated poses and savasana.

There she goes an un-happy camper!

I could find arguments to support my influence on both the happy and unhappy campers. Sure, we all have our favorite teachers and our favorite styles of yoga. But, the truth of that matter is that how people enter and leave the yoga room has little to do with the class, or the teacher and it has everything to do with who they are. They are who they are, on the mat and off the mat.

As a teacher I do my best to promote balance, but the best thing I can do is simply point to the mirror. This is who you are, when you are holding a pose, when you are transitioning from poses, when you fall out of a pose… The pose is simply a metaphor for life.

It is true: How you do anything is how you do everything.


Xenia G. Brat is originally from the rich land of Pura Vida, Costa Rica. She currently lives in sunny San Diego, with her husband, and teaches yoga at Green/Flash, a donation-based studio in Cardiff by the Sea. She teaches a fusion of Bhakti, Kripalu, Vinyasa and Power yoga; a practice of love, devotion and gratitude, and a constant search for a new edge. Follow Xenia on Facebook at Pura Vida Power Yoga. Find her at: http://puravidapoweryoga.com/.


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15 Responses to “What Does Your Flow Say About You? ~ Xenia G. Brat”

  1. Xenia, I do agree completely. As teachers, we have a responsibility to offer and hold a space for people to open (in all aspects; physical, emotional, spiritual), and we also have a responsibility to allow them to be in whichever space they choose. I have had many people in class who love the practice, and I've had people who openly complain about the music, the temperature, the poses. Our job is to learn well and teach well. Well written! Peace, ~Temple

  2. tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  3. tanya lee markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  4. Chip says:

    Movement and the pursuit of strength (no matter what form… yoga or powerlifting… doesn't matter) is ajourney of understanding our relationship with ourselves. Unfortunately not everyone sees it that way, and the journey ends there. So the happy client will perpetually be on her journey, and as we've often seen, her relationship with her body mirrors her relationship with the planet. The journey ended for the sourpuss much earlier in life, but she goes through the obligation of the routine, which many folks still believe is a path. It is, but it circles onto itself, never quite going up the proverbial mountain.

  5. Xenia says:

    Hi Yogini5,

    I'm not quite sure I understand your comment. But I appreciate your reading and getting into the conversation.

    Have a great day!

  6. Xenia says:

    Thanks Tanya!

  7. Xenia says:

    Hi Yogini5,

    I'm not quite sure I understand your comment. But I appreciate your reading and getting into the conversation.

    Have a great day!

  8. Xenia says:

    Thank you! Thank you!

  9. Xenia says:

    Thanks Temple!!

    I agree. As teachers we hold space and students will deal with whatever they need to deal with in that moment. Hopefully with some awareness.


  10. Xenia says:

    Hi Chip,

    Thanks for your comment. I ain't over til is over.


  11. tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  12. Joe Sparks says:

    Students need to respect the other students in the class.

  13. "How you do anything is how you do everything." Absolutely!!! So true on and off the mat. I think there are many unhappy people who keep looking around for either some external reason to blame or some external reason to change their mood. True internal joy exists apart from the right circumstances…even the hard stuff is still good stuff:)

  14. Xenia says:



  15. Xenia says:

    Right. We see it all in yoga, and as teachers we have experiences to take off the mat as well, like for next time I notice a friend set on watching a specific movie…