Tuning to the Teacher Within

This weekend I took yet another yoga workshop, this time with Kira Ryder of Lulubhanda’s Yoga Studio of Ojai, California. Yes, yoga is taking over the world muwahahaha.  Rumor is that Kira has given a lot of herself to to the yoga community in Southern California over the past six years and is one of our favorite “teacher’s teacher.” In fact, this weekend was designed with yoga teachers in mind and those seeking to broaden their perspective of the yogic arts and develop the ability to communicate from the heart.  What does that even mean you wonder?

We started by grounding into the earth with a yin (or more gentle, restorative) style yoga class.  We shared a little bit of info about each of ourselves and where we’re at with our yoga practice and/or teaching.  I found myself sharing how sick I have been of hearing my own voice lately.  Have you ever been sick of yourself?  Not that I don’t love myself, I’m just trying to find new words and inspiration in sharing myself and yoga with people.  I feel like I’m a solid teacher, but I want to get better, I want people to leave my class with that kind of yoga high you can only get on the mat. Similar to how I feel after Shiva’s class when I’m all gooey and I don’t even know what happened in class, but I know it felt good. It got me inspired to document why I teach yoga in the first place and what kind of class I’d like to lead. Have you ever thought about why you’re doing the things you’re doing, be it your job, relationships, or lifestyle?  I think it’s good to take stock of that reason every once in a while.  If I don’t hear a reasonable response maybe I should dig a little deeper or make a change. I teach yoga to help people become healthier, in body and mind. I teach to help people enjoy a few moments without coulda shoulda woulda thoughts. I teach to help people feel connected and inspired. Amongst other things.

Kira is an avid reader and I really enjoyed her sharing of reading recommendations and various information that related to yoga and life.  Saturday we conversed about The Effort Effect by Marina Krakovsky amongst other things. It’s a great article on research done by psychology professor Carol Dweck which attempts to answer the question, “What makes a capable child give up in the face of failure, where other children may be motivated by the failure?”  Dweck posited that the difference between the helpless response to challenges and it’s opposite – the determination to master new things and surmount challenges – lay in people’s beliefs about why they had failed.  People who attributed their failures to lack of ability versus those who thought they simply hadn’t tried hard enough.  I think that I often waiver in the face of challenges, more often than not I try harder, but I’ve definitely taken it personally and given up in certain scenarios as well. In college I tried harder, when it’s something not so natural to me, I tend to take it so much more personally.

How does this relate to yoga?  It relates more to who we are as human beings and the fact that this is what we have to face every day on the mat and in our lives.  Challenges aren’t easy, but they can be manageable if we learn to look at them as opportunities for growth.  We have to enjoy the learning process more than the results.

To be honest, I was feeling a little overworked and tired this weekend and didn’t want to commit to yet another thing to do on my schedule, even if it was yoga.  Yet as I predicted, I didn’t regret it once it was over.  I’m feeling pretty good for a Monday.  Kira is a wonderful teacher and she had me at her beautifully printed manual which I’ve been carrying around like a little puppy dog in my commuter bag.  I will continue to share thoughts from yoga workshop land. For now, I have to prepare to ride my bike home from work. The wind is blowing fiercely outside, at about 18 miles per hour.  That means that my leisurely ride home from work will be more like an uphill climb in my granny gear.

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