March 24, 2015

Yoga & Meditation—the Dynamic Duo of Self-Awareness.

yoga moon

I introduced to yoga when I was 12-years-old, by my mom.

She would practice yoga three to four times a week, with her friends and would practice at home (in between creating macramé owls, drinking Tab cola and sun tanning).

From witnessing my mom, looking forward to practicing yoga and seeing her in the poses (and enjoying it), one thing was certain—I wanted in on the action.

Even as young child, the traditional school gym class terrified me. The timed 12 minute run always resulted in a red-faced, out of breath girl with pee running down her gym romper. I despised all sports from the get go and I learned the handy skill of plagiarizing my mother’s handwriting, stating that, “Karyn can not participate in gym class today as she has her period.”

The Phys Ed teachers obviously knew what was up—most young ladies don’t have the reproductive cycle of a gerbil. But, these wise teachers knew to leave well enough alone and let me sit out on the class, catching up on my homework or drawing.

So, throughout the years, I would practice yoga, via books, videos and often through nightschool courses, offered by the city.

I was good, like really good, at yoga. I am quite naturally a bendy gal, and above all I loved how I felt after a good class.

All was well, until I decided to deepen my practice through getting my teaching certification.

A large portion of my teaching studies included meditation.

At an initiation, my Guru presented me with my secret mantra and I felt included, loved and special. You could almost see the rainbows coming out of my butt.

But, as I continued to meditate every day and for longer periods of time, my little honeymoon period ended. I gazed into the yogic “mirror, mirror on the wall” and discovered I was far from being the fairest of them all.

That’s what yoga and meditation do. They are the dynamic duo of self-awareness. We can run, but we cannot hide from the results our yoga and meditation practices bring us.

Me? Judgmental? Never! Competitive? Not on your life?

I was starting to demand more of myself, to combat the awareness that was flying back and hitting me in the face. I started to behave in ways that weren’t natural to me, faking it so that I would appear more Zen-like to the outside world because Zen-like is what a real yoga teacher is supposed to be, right?

Well, wouldn’t you know it, but after a particularly good yoga/ meditation time, a new super hero showed up.

I like to call her Epiphany. She’s my little “a-ha” muse that gently informed me that it was okay not to be good, all the time.  That it was okay if my poses would sometimes suck, or that the world wasn’t going to blow up if I fell out of a balance pose. That we all judge others as well as ourselves, we just do.

Epiphany is also a shape-shifter and can take other human forms, namely my yoga students.

After one class, I received the most wonderful comment from a student, letting me know that she loves how “real” I am.  Me? The yoga teacher that, yes, has been known to swear, ever-so-slightly when the pose I am leading is starting to not feel so great?

This comment from my student (Epiphany) was all I needed to know.

I can be a good, hell, great yoga teacher and not have to walk on water.

Yes, I do strive to watch my language and if I feel myself falling into the dreaded “I can bend better than you,” I now gently tell my students  to back off on the pose, knowing if I say it out loud enough, I will listen to my cue as well.

So, I will continue to heed to my inner superheroes, knowing that the best superhero anyone can be is ourself and it doesn’t involve wearing any cape!

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Relephant Read:

How We Can (Spontaneously) Wake Up Our Minds to the Present Moment.


Author: Karyn Austin

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: Yoga Bliss Photo

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