November 14, 2013

Staying Inspired. ~ Elizabeth Crisci

The path of yoga is a path of inspiration.

As a teacher or a student inspiration is what returns us to the studio, ready to be challenged one more time. When we are in a state of inspiration everything we see is beautiful, everything connects us to our own potential and we are empowered by photos, art, our breath and yoga.

This is the gift of our practice, connecting us to infinite possibility within ourselves and within the universe.

I wish I could say it was easy to stay inspired as a teacher, that just being in the studio fills me with wonder and brilliant sequences pour out of me because of my divine insight—well, um, that’s not really how it is.

On some days? Yes, my students inspire me with their authentic efforts, my kula supports me and we bounce ideas off of each other full of excitement, I take a long walk and my class theme and sequence just manifest right there in the New England autumn leaves.

Those are pretty good days.

Truthfully, it’s hard to stay inspired; it’s real legitimate work to stay connected to possibility and source and the beauty of the practice.

On some days I am absolutely working harder on my mat and in my classes to stay calm and connected. I might have a lot on my mind, or the week has been difficult, or I am teaching for the fifth time that day and I am tapped out. It happens; as a student or a teacher, we just aren’t always brimming with wonder.

Recently, I began Elena Brower’s Art of Attention Advanced Training. I was so looking forward to studying with Elena, she has always inspired me as a practicing yogi and a teacher. Part of her suggestion for our training has been to make art: collage, painting, mixed media and poetry. It has been such a blessing to me.

I was an artist in my past life. I went to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and studied photography. I wrote (sometimes bad) poetry with urgency and gusto. I painted and drew and wrote long passages in my journal with a dip pen and ink.

I lost this somewhere. I decided I had bigger, more important things to worry about, like balancing in Scorpion Pose and discovering new ways to engage the Relaxation Response.

I missed something very important.

My yoga practice doesn’t always have to inspire my life. My poetry can inspire my yoga practice. Or my painting, or a beautiful song; and, on the days when I am feeling the least connected, my creative outlets become the most important. There is no pressure between my pen and paper. Whatever comes out, is perfect as itself. By returning to these sources of inspiration outside of the yoga studio, I have been more inspired more than ever in my teaching and in my practice.

As teachers, as students, as humans of this world, we are our best when we are inspired. If you feel connection when you are taking a walk, or painting, or reading Science Journal, you should follow your source of inspiration and allow it to fuel this journey, to continually re-connect you with the infinite possibility of existence.

This is where your best you lives.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

~ Howard Thurman

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Assistant Editor: Paige Vignola/Editor: Bryonie Wise

{Image: Elizabeth Crisci}

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Elisabeth Crisci