“Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” ~ Chinese Proverb
My yoga teacher is leaving.
Stacey is following her heart, trusting that this is the next step on her path, opening herself to what the Universe has to offer—exactly what she teaches in her classes.
She walks the walk.
I am so happy for her. Really, I am.
But it’s a loss.
Two things I am not naturally good with.
The fact that my daughter is leaving for college around the same time is not helping matters.
Yet here is where I get to live my yoga off the mat.
Here is where I get to practice all that I have learned since beginning my practice with her: gratitude, mindfulness, letting go, perspective, compassion, impermanence, surrender.
And, most importantly, breath.
Breathing through the change, the loss, the bittersweet nectar of moving forward, moving on, being true to ourselves.
I am remembering to breathe through the sadness that washes over me at times. Before yoga, that sadness would’ve enveloped me like a strait jacket, leaving me stuck. Immobile.
Now I breathe—deep, slow, steady breaths—as it moves through me.
I’d been skating around the edges of yoga for several years before I met Stacey. I’d practice to DVD’s at home, go to a class now and then but that’s it. I sensed that there was more to yoga than the poses but didn’t know how to get there.
I’m pretty sure I cried in one of the first classes I took with her. I started lingering after class to ask her questions all centered around living my yoga off the mat. She suggested I take Yoga Immersion as part of the Teacher Training program. That was not on my radar at all.
Yet, suddenly it was.
This was the door Stacey opened for me. It took me deep into the heart of yoga, deep into the heart of my self, transforming all of my relationships—with my self, my mind, family, friends, community, the Universe.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” ~ Zen proverb
I’ve been with the same hairdresser for 10 years. I like to think I am loyal. But maybe, it’s just easier to stay in my comfort zone.
Having my teacher leave is kicking me out of my comfort zone. While part of me is sad and uncomfortable at not knowing what might come next, I am also excited, open and curious as to what might come next as well.
What new teachers will I encounter?
What will I learn as I sink deeper into my own home practice?
What will I learn as I begin to teach more classes myself?
Lately, I have been going to all of Stacey’s classes, trying to grasp every last morsel of wisdom she has to toss my way. I even wanted to bring a notebook to take notes so that I would remember it all.
When I imagined all that I have left to learn, my chest would begin to tighten, along with my jaw as a slight panic set in.
Then I remembered to breathe. The panic subsided and certain calm fill my heart and mind.
It’s okay. Everything is okay.
I decided to leave my notebook at home. Instead, I go to each class, open to whatever she has to teach, trusting that I will absorb what I am meant to, trusting that all is as it should be.
After all, if I trusted that she appeared when I was ready, I also need to trust that she is leaving when I am ready.
She opened the door but I entered it by myself.
So I will continue to walk this path with breath as my guide, my practice as my companion, unfurling my heart and mind to receive all yoga has to offer, offering it all back to the world around me, hopefully opening doors for others along the way and allowing them to step through and discover for themselves what waits on the other side.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Roger Ward via Flickr