I was about halfway through teaching a yoga class this morning when I realized that I was there, but I wasn’t all there. I was in it, but I wasn’t bringing much for my students. I was saying all the words right and teaching a well-sequenced class but I felt an emptiness that’s not usually there. And honestly just really blah.
My Friday morning class is one of my favorite classes of the week. It’s full of very strong yogis, mostly women, most of whom I’ve known for years. I typically thrive on coming up with new ways to challenge them, whether it’s through creative flow, an arm balance or inversion or through messaging. I usually keep it pretty light and we spend a lot of time cracking jokes and laughing at ourselves as we talk about real life stuff.
When we broke for backbends I sat down on the floor and I told my students that my first inclination was to apologize for not having much to give today. But that I had stopped myself and thought about how many times I’ve told them to, “practice from where you are today, feel what you’re feeling, not to compare this practice to any other and not judge yourself.”
I looked around the room and saw heads nodding. Sometimes you’re just having a bad practice or day or week or month…and that’s okay. Even if you’re the yoga teacher.
It’s really easy to get sucked into “the happiness trap.” I feel like we’re allowed to feel anything other than “really good, really happy, life is awesome” for about 0.2 seconds before it’s time to move on or start taking an anti-depressant (kidding but not really kidding). In reality, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling up sometimes, down sometimes, just kind of blah sometimes or like a mess sometimes.
I hope my students show up on their mats when they feel like that and feel accepted, loved and welcomed. That’s why I made the decision NOT to apologize for where I was today.
One of my students emailed me after class and said…
“I just want to let you know that what you said in today’s class meant a lot to me. It is funny how yoga has a way of tapping into what is going on with people emotionally. I have been really hard on myself all week about my yoga…I am struggling to focus and concentrate. And I feel like my yoga has just been shitty (for lack of a better word). I cannot stop telling myself how bad I am at this, almost so much so that I was almost in tears on my mat yesterday. I know it is just yoga and it is not that important but I think it is just a metaphor for what is really going on in my life.
Anyway, when you said that it is okay to feel what you are feeling and be okay with where you are today (no matter where that is), it meant a lot to me. Sometimes it feels like i have to be happy all the time and that I am responsible for everyone else’s happiness but that is not the truth. The truth is sometimes I struggle and sometimes yoga is hard. I have to be okay with that.
I hope you are okay with where you are at today.”
So to all of you, I hope you’re okay with exactly where you are today. Whether you’re on cloud nine and feeling all the joy in the world or wondering if life could possibly get any worse…or just stuck somewhere in between. Wherever you are it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be…it’s real, it will inevitably change at some point and you are learning from it.
All my love,
The biggest thank you to my friends and students for filling my home with gorgeous flowers. I smile and my heart warms every time I see them.