My Dear Yoga,
Thank you. Thank you for providing me the space and support to heal and grow within myself, so that I might inspire healing and growth in others. You have stood strong beside me as I contemplate my life and the nature of the world in which I live—light and shadow, triumph and tragedy, community and division, cooperation and competition, brotherhood and racism, peace and violence and so much more.
Thank you, dear Yoga, for helping me bring my best self forward, so that others may benefit from my teaching.
Thank you for the teacher in my blood. For my mother, a teacher for 26 years, and for my father, a career college professor. Thank you, dear Yoga, for empowering me with their example, instilled in me long before I embraced teaching as my personal platform and path.
Thank you for helping me discover lifelong meaning from my childhood experiences. From my roots in the DMV (Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia), the political world in my backyard, where I witnessed up close how people work to shift the world and our country. More than ever in my life, dear Yoga, through you I understand the importance of education to improve the health of our society while embracing others, so that we may deepen and expand together.
With your support on the mat, dear Yoga, I stand proud and humbled to have trained almost 2,000 teachers since 2005. Through you and with them, I have learned that the value of a proper asana class does not end when we roll up the mat, but extends far beyond into every fabric of our existence. We learn to connect more authentically with others because, through yoga, we connect more authentically with our own humanity and spirit. We learn to get out of our own way and we learn to trust that we can be more creative about how we do business and navigate life.
You further showed me that you have been there to shape my foundation. Having learned to meditate at age eight, you have continued to ground me within. The awareness that has continued to come forward on the mat has helped me to move beyond the cycles that had held me back in the past. I now know that healing me will strengthen my vibration and lift me into a deeper state of peace. As I gain access to a higher vibration, being with others will cause everyone to lift into a higher frequency.
Thank you for showing me that I was never broken, and that shifting my operating system was all that I needed to do.
Thank you for your patience.
My dear Yoga, thank you for my evolution. For my evolving work and my evolving self.
Thank you for helping me discover how my energy affects others. How my own, unresolved pain hindered my teaching until you empowered me to go to the mountain to dive deeper, to examine myself—my premises, my motives, my habits—and to emerge renewed, energetically elevated, to be of greater service and benefit to those I teach.
Thank you, dear Yoga, for showing me where we as teachers are needed to catalyze change:
When 22 soldiers take their lives each day—a shift must be made.
When Native American suicides among youth ages 18-24 nearly double in one year to 22.5 deaths per 100,000—a shift must be made.
When the U.S. Census estimates that of the approximately 18.5 million black males in our country, 745,000 are behind bars (compared to India, for example, with a total population approaching 1.2 billion, only 380,000 individuals are imprisoned)—a shift must be made.
For these and more healthy shifts to be made, thank you for showing me that we must teach.
We must teach to inspire healing and growth, for we know that we can overcome addiction, depression, abuse and chronic illness…when we teach.
We must teach to embrace change with courage and self-respect, for we know that we can overcome our disappointments of the past and fears for the future…when we teach.
We must teach to love, for we know we find truth, grounded in the present moment…when we teach.
For a shift to be made, we must merely teach one to reach one, for we know your power first hand, on the mat and beyond.
When we teach, my dear Yoga, we honor your wisdom as we share your gift of peace.
Thank you, my dear Yoga. Thank you.
Author: Sid McNairy
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Emily Bartran