December 14, 2012

Awe & Angst (Or, Why I’m Toasted). ~ Edith Lazenby

Sometimes I Laugh, Sometimes I Cry.

The alarm buzzed for 25 minutes as my youngest cat chewed my toes; tiredness becomes my staff as effort grows like a stubborn weed from my heart. I drove in the dark to my first client and something I cannot even recall came on the radio and tears started.

Is this the angst of living or the awe of compassion?

I teach yoga full time. Finances are forever a challenge, balancing checks in the bank for the mortgage that must be paid, on time. Some bills wait, no finance charge or pennies at best and little direct consequence.

Credit? Well yes, there is that but we manage and what’s to worry about if there’s nothing there, there’s nothing that can be done.

So sometimes I teach…a lot.

A colleague who observed my teaching shared that if I am moving my energy teaching can feed me and not drain me. However, when I teach 20 or so classes a week, I am drained. Moving energy and feelings, going with the flow of the moment to be in the moment is my work in progress.

Then there’s writing and editing.

As an apprentice at elephant journal, I do many things, every day. And I love the work, the community and the forum. I love to learn and grow. I love the fact that people I don’t know read what I write and some let me know that what I said made a difference.

That’s all I want really, to make a difference.

So, I write this for my fellow teachers, for my friends who may not teach but who give then give some more. I have four cats and a low-maintenance husband, my dearest friend. I am overcome with sadness at moments, the angst of being alive. The moment will come  unexpected, like this morning and grief holds me in a shadow that veils the light.

Then, I remember my husband’s smile or a friend’s phone call—and I am alright.

I am tickled with awe at how my students thrive and embrace yoga. And I am astounded by those who work, have a marriage and raise children. And I am even more astonished by those moms and dads who stay home, whether by choice or because it is economically wiser and focus on raising the children.

As I tell my pregnant students, you create space for the baby in your body as you move and you do it for the rest of your life.

Finding time to nourish my body, mind and heart so that my spirit can feel the feathers that help it fly can be tough. Children are a font of constant need. Cats are easy by comparison. Teaching is my passion and yoga for me is how I engage my life, myself and my community. Being in front of a group of students and sharing what I know does feed me on all levels. Yet, there is too much of a good thing; pacing myself as I teach and then having fun with what I offer makes all the difference.

Today at a class I have been teaching for years, we did new things. We cannot use the walls but we can do tripod headstand. A few students got both legs up. One person got into an advanced position in pigeon. Another, who I knew could do it safely, jumped back from crow to chatturangha. But I know these students, I know their bodies and safety is always a priority.

I make yoga, aerobics and meditation a priority. I take naps when I can. My personal practice feeds my teaching. The aerobics energizes me and the meditation keeps me steady.

I write poems because that is where my questions are answered. My life is simple: I teach, I do elephant journal, cook, read and watch a movie, on a rare occasion. Every now and then I meet a friend for coffee but that is not often.

I welcome both awe and angst; one reminds me of the joy of living and the other reminds me that we all feel alone, even when we’re not.

At odd moments anguish surges up. I embrace it all. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry.

I don’t need to know why.


I am a full time yoga teacher, trained at City Fitness in Washington, DC and Willow Street Yoga Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. I have been writing poetry since I was 9 years old. Poetry is my first love and yoga continues to feed my heart. I write because I love it. I teach because I love it. I tell my students all the time: do it because you can. That works for me. I believe in creating opportunity. I believe in helping my self and others. I think faith is the most important gift of life, because when we lose everything else we still have that in our heart. I believe the natural state of being is happiness, or bliss, or Ananda. Life is a celebration. Poetry and yoga help me celebrate. Check out my blog and website here.

Ed: Bryonie Wise

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