WHY I TEACH AND PRACTICE YOGA
There’s a boom of yoga teachers these days. At times it seems there’s oversupply of us, which poses a problem as earnings are not great and it might be challenging to fill in the schedule and pay the bills. Still lots of people choose to become yoga teachers every year. So what is it that attracts crowds to the profession?
I wanted to share with you why I teach yoga but realized I didn’t have the answer beyond “because it feels so good”. Something that feels good is also fun to share. I teach because I love practicing it. So why do I practice?
“When I was really weak and depressed and felt unable to get through the day just feeling good, yoga was a reliable source of solace.”
Because it’s a pleasure. Although yoga involves effort and suffering, the stretches and muscle work release endorphins, “feel-good neurotransmitters”, thus uplifting me. When I was really weak and depressed and felt unable to get through the day just feeling good, yoga was a reliable source of solace. Whenever I stepped on a yoga mat I knew I would get off feeling calmer, happier and enjoying the stream of love towards myself.
Secondly, it helps me get back in touch with myself. Together with meditation and my daily yoga practice is the space and time for me to check in with myself, to embrace my femininity and inner child. As I pay attention and listen to my body sensations and states I discover what is it that has affected me lately, if there were any important issues that did not get enough of my attention and hang in my emotional and energetic fields unattended. It seems like the tissues keep the residue of undigested emotions and, when I start engaging the muscles, they go back into consciousness.
Rarely do I practice a prearranged sequence. Most of the time I just listen to myself on what would feel good right now. As I go into the poses that my body calls for I stay with my feelings and sensations facing them, bearing them and making peace with them. As I wake up from savasana and bow namaste I feel like I’ve cleaned things up with myself. I now know myself a tiny bit better. I also feel like a baby who has got her needs of attention met by her mother, now ready to face new adventures in the big world.
“It’s a kind of journaling and self-therapy if you will.”
Another reason is that yoga is part of my self-development. As long as I learn about yoga and psychology I can’t help but marvel at how much our bodies and souls are interconnected. In fact some psychologists believe that all illnesses have psychosomatic origin, i.e. originate in the psyche and are only later manifested in the body.
During my teacher training the instructor drew my attention to the disconnection from my heart that was visible to her. I now use my breath to reestablish this connection. I breathe into my heart for a few minutes every time I do yoga or meditate. I observe my heart area becoming warmer and more alive while I do this. As a result I feel more connected to my metaphorical heart during the day. I have better awareness of my vulnerability. When something frustrating happens I am able to stay in touch with my feelings of anger, helplessness, etc. instead of numbing them. It makes me feel more grounded and happy with what I have.
Yoga and my body have taught me a lot and, I believe, have made me more mature and content. There is ultimate motivation to pass on this gift to those interested and let them experience this kind of bliss.
If you want to see what yoga can do to your connection to your heart you might want to try the following. While you go in your favorite poses on the yoga mat breathe out at least twice to each of these areas: the left edge of your heart, its right edge, bottom edge and top edge, its back plane and front plane, the right side of your heart, its left side, its bottom and top and then at the very center of your heart. Make sure these are your natural breaths, your mouth might be closed. Inhale as usual and imagine your breath touches the edges of your heart as you are breathing out.
Follow my bilingual instagram @staytuned_n_yoga for tips on asanas and more!
Photo credit: Sergey Kiyashko, insta @kiyaho