"Why do I teach yoga?"
It's a question I often ask myself, because sometimes I get lost and need to find my way back. I get caught up in the very American view of yoga that promotes yoga practice as a way to lose weight and work on one's body shape and size. I feel pressured to teach a fast, flowing, aerobically stimulating class even when I know that the students asking for such a class are not ready for it physically. I let myself fall into the trap that I have fallen into since I was a youngster: trying to be what people want me to be instead of what I am.
In the last week, during my lovely yoga retreat in Puglia, Italy, I found myself falling into the traps that I just described, and I had to pause and ask myself again, "Why do I teach yoga?" Below are my answers.
My yoga is a meditation: a turning inward, a noticing, a practice of mindfulness, an experience of being fully present and focusing on one thing (as much as possible). The object of the focus may change from day to day, from class to class, but the method for achieving that focus is consistent: breathe, notice, imagine, repeat.
My yoga is not about getting your body to shrink or your biceps to bulge or your belly to flatten. For that, ride your bike, lift weights at the gym, or do my core and back strengthening exercises. Instead, my yoga exercises the one part of us that affects our physical well-being more than any physical practice you can participate in: the mind.
If you're interested in my yoga, let me know. I'd love to share it with you.
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