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November 12, 2015

The Most Important Thing I Learned Teaching Yoga.

Diamond Mountain/Flickr

As I prepared for my classes, and specifically for the most important part of class, savasana, I put in time and effort to choose the best techniques to help my class relax.

I realigned my students, massaged with essential oils, spoke in my soothing voice—you name it, I did it.

However, I taught at a gym, and five minutes before class ended and savasana began, students walked out.

My hyper-sensitive self would think, they didn’t want to stay. It was something I did.

I would close my eyes and give thanks for those that stayed and for the opportunity to teach, but a quiet voice inside said I wasn’t a good enough teacher to keep my students on their mats until the end of class.

Then I learned the most powerful lesson in life: Take nothing personally.

Sometimes people cannot stay, and it has nothing to do with you. Sometimes people cannot be open to experiencing, deeply, all that is meant to be experienced. Sometimes there are factors completely out of your control such as:

Readiness. My first year in savasana was pretty painful. I found myself, for reasons I had no idea existed, with tears running down the sides of my face. Many feelings surfaced, from my past and present life, that needed to be addressed. Savasana is not for the faint of heart.

Timing. Sometimes it’s just timing in life. We are meant to touch someone’s heart, briefly, but it is a fleeting moment. Other times, we have long-lasting relationships that transcend time. Why people can or can’t stay, why people can or can’t be open, I believe, is due to timing.

Sometimes people have other commitments that have nothing to do with you. One student walked out of class every week 10 minutes before class ended. One day she told me she had to pick up her granddaughter and couldn’t stay until the end but loved class and didn’t want to miss it.

Another student said he drove across town to come to class but couldn’t stay until the end because he had to work.

I learned to take nothing personally, but also to have compassion for those who stay and those that must leave.

I learned this on my mat and transferred it into my daily life. Coming and going, when one is ready, when one is prepared, when one has courage and clarity, is a process. Some may stay until the end, and some may not.

So as students walked out of class, before class ended or at the very end, I sent out a blessing: May all you learn follow you throughout your day, for I have learned from you.

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Relephant Read:

Lessons, Gratitude & Fear: What I Learned in My First 1000 Hours Teaching Yoga.

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Author: Ashley Martinez

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Diamond Mountain/Flickr // Eli Christman/Flickr

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Ashley Martinez  |  Contribution: 3,240