Did you ever go out with your sweetie and another person and have those awkward moments of yeah, there's somebody else here? Or go out with a group that totally gelled one time only to have it be missing one or another member the next time and it was totally lame? Or hook up with some random hodge-podge group of peeps that you'd never expect to see in the same room and have an incredibly awesome rocking good time?
That's kind of how it is to teach yoga in the summertime.
I'm sitting on my mat each day looking out into the studio just wondering who on Earth is going to show up this time, and I'm finding the surprises don't end. Regulars drop off the radar due to other commitments, travel, or new explorations. Randomites try out the practice for the heck of it. Out of towners drop-in to try the studio, or for an Anusara-Inspired fix while they pass through town. And the chemistry of the classroom is in constant flux... it's like vinegar and baking soda thrown together haphazardly with no regard for proportions so that some weeks we have a totally magical eruption of Shakti and other weeks is a weak-ass fizzle into nothingness. I mean, I still think even if it's a fizzle, it's probably an alright class... but I'd rather have the eruption week after week.
Thing is, it really matters who is in the room. It really really matters. Partially, I matter. Which one of me shows up.. Is it the stressed out mommy, the bhakti and Shakti filled little girl with the overflowing heart, is it the anatomy and UPA obsessed yoga nerd, is it the anxious scared child who thinks she can't possibly do this, or is it the unstoppable woman who knows she kicks butt? That will largely determine what happens, so I do my best to bring my Best self each time. But also, the students matter. YOU matter, I should say. And it isn't said lightly.
The first principle of Anusara yoga is Open to Grace and Set the Foundation, and the first A is Attitude. The attitude of the people who walk through the door has the ability to shift beauty to agonizing torture, or blaze avoidance to heart-felt acceptance and love. I've seen teachers take rooms full of sour pusses and turn them into gooey love muffins. I've also been in classes as the student and not been Open to Grace only to find myself sinking deeper into the pit of ugliness I've dug for myself while the people all around me appear to be having transformational openings. It all begins at the beginning. Am I open minded, Open to Grace, do I have a beginner's heart and mind? Do you when you walk through the door?
As the teacher, I'm constantly going back reminding the students in the first part of class ... show up ready, show up Open, be a beginner, listen to your breath. I think during these summer months of total chaos and unpredictability those are good reminders for myself. Show up ready, Show up Open ... Flow with Grace, and serve those right in front of me. The shake up will slow down, the volcano will stop erupting eventually and the new normal will settle in.
Until then ride the Grace... and just so you know... You are missed, You are important, You make a difference, You have the power to shift whole groups of people, You are infinitely Loved.