14,937 km so far.
The title of this post refers to the hashtag #yogaeverydamnday
“What is a hashtag?”, I hear many of you ask. Here is a brief description: a hashtag is a way for people to search for posts on a particular topic on social media sites. The pound sign (#) is added before a word, or series of words. If you then search for this hashtag you get every post that contained the hashtag. Almost every newsworthy event, such as the loss of Flight MH370 or the UC Santa Barbara shooting, inspires a hashtag (#prayforflightmh370 and #yesallwomen respectively). Lots of less serious events do, too.
Recently, I recommitted to practicing yoga every day. This may surprise some of you who assume that as a yoga teacher I would always practice every day. However, on this long, strange trip there have been extended periods when I have been too tired or too sick, the floor is too dirty, the air is too hot/cold… the list of excuses goes on and on.
With the end of the trip in sight, and my life as a full-time yoga teacher about to kick back into gear, I knew it was time to recommit to #yogaeverydamnday.
Not long after I started my personal challenge, one of my teachers, Noah Mazé, put together a public challenge on Instagram focusing on poses that form the foundation of yoga.
The challenge was inspired by a new series he is teaching called YogaMaze 101, designed for people who want to try yoga but don’t feel ready to go to a studio, new students who want to learn more, and teachers who want to learn how to help new students.
I decided this challenge would be a good tool to help me along the way with my own personal challenge of #yogaeverydamnday.
We are now on day 8, and I have been loving it. Each day Noah gives us a theme to think about, a pose to photograph, and a quote related to the theme and pose. He also invites us to write and think about how we will embody this idea on our yoga mat as we practice, and off the yoga mat, as we go about our lives.
This was today’s quote, with our theme being Cultivate Self-Worth.
Strive not to be a success, but to be of value. Albert Einstein
Today I visited a yoga studio in Kuala Lumpur, Inspired Yoga, after an invitation from the owners Foo and Junko to sit in on part of their 200-hour Teacher Training.
I went to a class taught by one of their new graduates, Shidah, who was teaching to a room filled with people she had just been on this exciting journey with, her teachers, and a complete stranger (that’s me).
I can remember the first time I had to get up in my teacher training to teach the group. I was nervous, anxious, sure I would do it all wrong, and felt I wasn’t ready. It was a privilege to be there for Shidah’s class to be a supportive, attentive student as she experienced similar emotions.
There is so much value in teaching to a group of friends, teachers, and strangers. Your friends can offer honest feedback once it is all over, your teachers will be firm yet kind, and strangers will just be happy to have been to yoga. These classes also help new teachers remember they have something important to share, even if everything doesn’t go as planned.
Pro tip: it never does.
I am grateful to Foo, Junko and all the students for welcoming me and inviting me to lunch after the class. It is always great to share stories, talk yoga, eat vegetarian food, and get to know more yogis around the world. Through keeping great company, we increase our own self-worth.
I also absolutely love to be surrounded by the energy of a group of teacher training students. They have all been through so much together, sharing deeply personal stories, holding each other’s hands, wiping away tears during a breakdown, and getting to know each other. A bond that lasts a lifetime is formed in these trainings, and to come into the midst of that, to bask in it, to sit, observe, and listen to them reminisce, share jokes, laugh, and love, is a gift.
Thank you all.
Just like a tree, the seeds of yoga take time to sprout and grow.
It is important when we are on the mat to remember to be patient. It is also important for new teachers, for all teachers, to remember to be patient with themselves and with their students.
By putting the effort in every time you step on the mat, or step in front of a class, you are learning, and growing. Your practice is improving, your knowledge is growing, your teachings are taking root in students’ minds and in their own practice.
You may not see the effect from one day to the next, but over time, the effort is effective.