Sunday, January 17, 2010

There's something about Baron

Last week I had the very great pleasure of reconnecting with one of my favorite teachers, and was thrilled to be able to hit the mat as Baron Baptiste guided my practice once again.

It was more than a few years ago when I signed up for a week-long immersion with Baron, entitled Teacher's Revolution. I knew I needed some kind of revolutionary kick in my butt, because even though I had been teaching for a while, my sparsely attended classes seemed to be a testament to my lack of confidence and abilities.

I remember being completely intimidated by all the yoga teachers in the room. They each seemed so strong in every way, while all I felt was inadequate in every way. But after the third 10-hour day of INTENSE practice, in-depth theory, and hands-on instruction, a strange thing started to happen: My ego became exhausted and I actually began to let go of my attachment to what I could or couldn't do, and, best of all, started to embrace my strengths. I remember riding the subway home feeling giddy and energized and renewed. By day four, I mustered up the courage to ask Baron about what I could/should do as a teacher, to deal with a particularly challenging student. I whined about how "she said this and asked me that...blah, blah, blah." He had been listening intently, and I expected him to provide some magical insight that would, at last, help me to put her in her place. Instead he looked into my eyes and said, "When you're ready to take your seat as a teacher, your students will listen." I was stunned, and more than a little embarrassed. I had to dig deep to keep from crying. But that evening, as I rode the F train home, I realized that Baron was exactly right; not believing in my ability as a teacher had been broadcasting self-doubt to each and every student.

I learned a lot about myself, yoga, and teaching after seven days with Baron, and very soon my own teaching began to blossom. I began to rely on my instincts instead of notes, and tapped into the hearts of my students for inspiration. I felt truly happy after every practice. In just a few months my classes were filling up, and my students were happy and healthy. I had finally been able to take my seat as a teacher, and found it to be welcoming as well as comfortable.

After this week's class, I related my story to Baron as he smiled broadly. "That's really great Rita," he said, "I can see how much you love to teach. I feel the passion." "I've always wanted to thank you for that advice," I replied. "You helped me face my fears, and have faith in myself."

"Whatever happened to that student?" he asked.
"Oh that's an interesting story. One day after class she thanked me, and said that I had inspired her to become a teacher. And now she subs for me!"
"That's pretty cool," said Baron.
"Yeah it is. And she's a really good teacher too!"

Don't be afraid to shine...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thank You!

It was a ridiculously cold and icy weekend here in the Northeast but that didn't seem to matter to this hardy yoga community. Special thanks to everyone who attended my sold-out Aroma/Detox yoga class on Saturday, and an extra special hug to the Greenwich kula of yogis who showed up in force for Lululemon's Sunday morning community class - we broke a record with 61 attendees!!
I hope everyone is finding some warmth in their practice and allowing the shared love to inspire his or her journey.
Lots of love and big bear hugs to all!
[Love my new Lulu pants and jacket!]

Monday, January 4, 2010

New year, new me, new blog

Given the date of my last blog entry, I think it’s fairly clear that I don’t have the hang of blogging. Mostly because I’ve been doing a lot more teaching which translates into lots more running around. When I finally do have a block of time to myself, I usually have overdue bills to pay and deadlines to keep so writing a new blog inevitably takes a back seat. But I promised myself that 2010 will be different and I will make a conscious effort to exercise, eat well, take better care of my body, and yes -- blog. I realize that these self-contributions will help to keep my body running smoothly, my mind clear and focused, and my heart open. They also, very often, become shared experiences, even if they don’t always start out that way, and in my view, sharing the experience of our individual journeys is what will keep all of us moving in the direction of understanding, compassion and hopefulness.

And I do have hope for this new year as well as this new decade. I feel a renewed faith in myself, and all the gifts I have been blessed with in this life. I vow to embrace them as I allow my heart to fill up with the light of possibility and love. And I vow to shine that light onto each and every being that walks along my path or crosses it.

As yogis we can all make the same decision: To view this new decade-year-month-day- minute with an open heart, faith in ourselves, and a commitment to shine. For real.

Peace, love and understanding,