I am in the coziness of our yoga room. It's the spare bedroom upstairs. Mumu agreed to read while I went through my yoga practice, as usual he fell asleep after a few pages :). I'm in meditation, listening to his breath rise and fall, and taking in the freshly baked bread scent coming from downstairs from our bread-maker. My question is always the same after sitting and centering myself: 'what should I learn today?', the answer rises from within: 'to love', 'to love what?', 'myself'.
The simplicity of this is insightful for me. Today is another day I felt myself depleted. I taught one yoga class at noon and I couldn't have come back home quicker. My back and knees were bothering me. After two bites at 3pm of my first meal of the day (actually the first one was the apple juice that mumu prepared for us both :), I fell asleep into a dreamless deep nap.
As I adjust to this new life of teaching yoga, I am realizing that I need to replenish myself even more than I thought. I am realizing that something is passed on to the people I teach, whatever that something is, it is giving me signals that it may not be endless unless I take care of myself.
Don't get me wrong, I get a tremendous satisfaction out of teaching yoga. In fact, never in my life my purpose of earning an income was based so much on love. I love yoga. I love everything about it. I love feeling my body and then breaking that feeling down into bits and pieces to feed to my students. I love being achy after a good day's yoga practice. Even the tenderness I feel in my knees or back tell me that (apart from that fact that I didn't warm-up enough before demonstrating poses in class :) I did everything I could today, putting my heart and soul into it. And being in the movement long enough now, I know that my body will heal with a little bit of attention.
And love is the main ingredient since this business is much tougher than I thought. Forget the corporate salary. I don't think I could do this if I was living on my own with my own means and without mumu's support. At least not at the beginning of this career. People aren't that forgiving either. They aren't always ready to receive your offering. They don't always know what they want and when they don't get (or get) what they think they want, they aren't appreciative.
I have been lucky to have wonderful people in my class. You get a feeling of how receptive people are that day after a few minutes into the class. And it is hard for me tell what someone gets out of it. Maybe they may not show it right away during or after class but maybe this is a sigh for them in their stressful day. I am always happy to see people leaving smiling, thanking me or people coming back for more. It's a beautiful process to watch, one I have no control over, one I have to accept as is, whatever that may be.
Still I put myself out there to give my students the best experience I can offer in an hour 15 minute class. I come up with new ideas. I try new poses. I prepare my classes in advance with great care and detail. I look for new music to motivate them and create an ambiance. I add my own insight and training into all poses, giving tips and pointers, also showing the students tenderness, care and understanding. And always, always regarding safety as the number one priority.
Let me tell you, having spent a few months in this business, I tremendously appreciate my own yoga teachers. For them to even take time to teach a class (regardless of if I like the class or not) is a big deal. Trust me, after mileage, parking, taxes to be paid on top of what they earn, it is basically love and dedication that brings them back to teaching, not any monetary gains! So do enjoy your teachers, and do say thank you after a yoga class! :)
I don't want to paint a bleak picture here, it's a wonderful wonderful job to teach something that you believe in and offer it to people as a gift. I just want to give you guys the facts and look at my life honestly. After all for me, that's the purpose of this blog: to leave somewhere some bread crumbs about my life so that I can find myself in the now and maybe inspire a few friends in the process.
So back to the thing I seem to use up when I teach. Yes, something is definitely running up. And I am in the process of learning how to take care of myself and fill it up again and again and again,... In terms of the 'simplicity of loving myself' things haven't proven simple :). But I am learning and staying open as I go. Lately I have been practicing allowing myself to enjoy some treats. It's a nice movie here, a cupcake there, or taking a nap instead of answering more emails or handling more errands. It's not always an easy thing for me to let these things happen. I am used to depleting myself. That was the whole premise of my corporate job, my MBA, or even my upbringing: how much more can I fit into a day? Taking time to slow down or allowing myself to a few treats almost feels like guilty pleasures. And for me, I am not sure slowing down is the real answer. I feel like I have a certain capacity that I would like to use to create meaning in my life and other's lives. I don't want to waste it. So the real answer for me lies somewhere in between, doing enough to feel positively occupied and not doing much (or taking time for simple pleasures) to have enough room for regeneration and inspiration. And finding simplicity in all of this :)
Aand that's all that I'll write-up for today, time to fill up my sleep reserves and more on the subject later! :)