De-Mystifying Power Yoga
I have written and discussed in depth the power of the yoga mat as I perceive it to be. I have spent minutes, hours, weeks, and years on my yoga mat. The mat has been my place of redemption, clarification, acceptance, power, and surrender. My mat has seen ALL sides of me, all versions of me and most certainly all emotions of me.
One of the topics that many clients will call about is being scared to come to a class because they don’t think they are strong enough, flexible enough or skilled enough. It is my aspiration to de-mystify this idea and teach the community that yoga is meant for all bodies, all ages and does not require experience. Yoga merely requires a desire to dive deep into your truest self.
As a yoga instructor for the past 16 years, it has been my role to encourage, inspire, motivate, challenge, accept and offer a place of peace for my students. I have taught in studios, in football stadiums, in hockey arenas, in corporations, outdoors, indoors, rooftops, beaches, schools, public parks, in the middle of the street, in homes and most recently our favorite (and thankful past-time) ZOOM. Through all of these experiences I have realized that my role went far beyond introducing asanas or shapes to people. My influence on people may have been far reaching or fallen upon ears not yet ready to go deeper; yet I have always remained true to my own mission or dharma which is to share energy. Sharing energy cultivates connection which creates community which ultimately encourages love of self and of others who share in a common desire to be part of “something”. This “something” happens ON THE MAT.
When one first graduates as a ripe 200 RYT Yoga Instructor, one is often influenced by their teacher and may try to emulate the teacher whom they respect. The natural progression or evolution for the teacher who also continues to be the student (something that is of utmost importance to me) is to find their own words of expression, their own method of teaching, their own platform to share in the best way that maintains an authenticity of their offerings. We ultimately find ourselves as teachers and grow comfortable in our own skin. We mature and reach a point in our career where we know what we offer, how it can change or affect others and step onto our mats with confidence, command of a room and a security that only comes with age and time.
Power is not about the tricky inversion, or the contorting of the body in shapes that are unnatural, or even the ability to speak fluent Sanskrit. Power is the ability to bring something of value to an audience, something that changes their life, their perspective of their body or perspective of their life. The ultimate place of power in yoga is to find STILLNESS. Stillness, quiet and the skill set to remain present in life is WHY we do yoga. Don’t be discouraged by social media that encourages competition, unattainable asanas and separation of self.
Yoga has one purpose and one purpose only; to find stillness. Stillness of body, stillness of mind, stillness of breath and stillness from the distractions that surround us continually.
My message is simple; come to the mat……nothing else.
The magic will transform as you receive the messages from the authentic teacher. Stillness will come. The power is within you, it always has been, allow yoga to lead you to this place of surrender.
*This post was originally published in the September, 2001 print edition of Sparta Living Magazine