“You are what your deepest desire is.
As your desire is, so is your intention.
As your intention is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
~ The Upanishads
I wrote this piece when I was a student yoga teacher. Still struggling with feelings of worthiness and belonging. On one rainy winters day, I was forced by weather to take a detour that helped return my sense of self.
Today as I was driving to my normal Wednesday yin class with Jen, it became apparent that the wet weather and traffic was not going to allow me to get there at the usual 9.30 am start time. I almost returned home, when I remembered my assignment (to undertake a new type of class) was soon due. So instead, I made my way to the 10 am session at Bridge Yoga. One road closed and a new one opened for me that day when I decided to try Iyengar style yoga for the first time.
On my arrival I was greeted by the lovely Margaret. I instantly liked her and felt at ease. With her warm smile and luminous energy, I loved seeing what decades of practice does for a person. I introduced myself and declared I had never tried Iyengar before when she informed me, she did not teach Iyengar she taught Hatha yoga.
And with that I accepted that the universe had different plans for me this day, and I surrendered to the flow.
I explained I was a yoga student and why I was there, and that this would do nicely. As the other ladies began to arrive, I realized, I was the youngster. I had found myself in a room of older yoginis, how delightful being surrounded by crone energy. You see, recently, I’d become a little down with some of the ego’s I would encounter not only in the yoga space but within the yoga teacher class room. I just found myself tripping over them. It seemed there were two types of yoga teachers, dancers who wanted to try something different and everyone else.
I had to remind myself that we’re on own journey and I should not judge, but still, it is hard when some students really do go out of their way to make you feel not so good about who you are and your practice. They would snicker in class with a ‘sense of entitlement’. I wondered, ‘How can this sort of thing happen in such a space as this?’ It had become very disappointing. However, such is the nature of our ego, and the yoga room is no different to any space we share. I have come to realize that it is in fact the perfect space for such issues to arise.
So today, I went in expecting to find ‘more of the same’, competitiveness, ego and focus on asana above the other limbs and what I found was anything but.
So here I was, suddenly the youngster of the group, surrounded by crones with their wisdom and grace. I was able to focus entirely upon myself. I felt the energy of the room to be centred, inclusive, accepting and open. Margaret began with the intention of the class, our sankalpa is ‘to journey up the chakras, and today was the solar plexus chakra’. As she described this chakras function, colour and manifestation my internal focus connected to Manipura. I concentrated upon my yellow swirling flower petals, my sun. I dedicated my practice to my will, self-esteem and my sense of personal power. I was hoping to bring balance to Manipura, thus bolstering my confidence and my ability to manifest my intentions and desires.
Within this quite space, I heard Manipura speak.
“Yes, indeed, there is a place for me in the world of teaching yoga and I don’t have to be like everybody else, in fact, to be the best teacher I can be and offer the best service I can, I should only teach what I know. This makes my yoga a unique expression of what I am and therefore there is a place for all of us.”
This wisdom had been shared with me, many times by my teachers, but I’ve not been ready to fully accept or hear it, until now. With eyes closed and centred I felt the gentle energy wash through me and any remaining anxiety I’d been carrying just slowly drifted away.
How I loved this energetic approach. Connecting with the fire element we soon went into Surya Namaska, drawing from the sun, building tapas and getting the qi flowing. I practiced to my edge and a little beyond balancing my efforts with that of the older women. Today’s class may not have been as physically challenging as I would normally like, but it was deeply moving and I will be returning to follow the journey with these women through the higher chakras. Once a week, connecting with this feminine energy will serve me well in my practice and work. It will also help ground me as I build a strong foundation.
Today, the universe unfolded for me beautifully and I am grateful that I followed those signs, allowing the teacher, the class and the practice to pass this gentle and healing wisdom to me.
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