Monday, June 10, 2013

This Marvelous Gift - Part 1

Some time ago I entered a yoga photo contest that required that you submit two photos, and answer a specific question. The question was, "why do you do yoga?" I paused on this because I never really consider my on journey too much any more, intuitively I know that I'm still "on" my journey, and I've been much more concerned about the journey of my students more so than my path. But of course, I have my reasons to and this is how I tried to sum it up:

 I came to yoga because I was looking for something. I needed more hands on spirituality than orthodox theology could ever give me. I realized that "yoga" is simply a quest for the true self, and it takes many forms. Because I practice yoga I know I control my own destiny.  I practiced martial arts for discipline and physicality, but I studied the wisdom of the east to answer some of the questions that whispering at my heart. I found answers in the Bhagavad Gita, which only strengthened what I learned in the Bible. I was so excited to receive my stack of philosophy and anatomy textbooks in my first teacher training that I mostly ignored the asanas until close to the end and I realized I was going to have to actually "teach" yoga classes. I wasn't aware yet of the power of the asana practice. Now, when I practice Hatha there is a certain exhilaration that comes with the heighten awareness of one's self. I have that same awareness when I teach yoga as well. When I instruct the class, it is a true and genuine outpouring of love from my soul. I really feel and try to visualize my offering to the students, and I end each class thanking them for the opportunity to serve. There is a connection there that no other "job" could have ever given me. I do yoga because yoga has been life saving, life altering and a life blessing. I like to think that I was born to do yoga. Namaste

Of course there's more to this story, and I try my best to stay present as it unfolds. I have been very fortunate that yoga has become a part of my life, it's benefits to numerous to name. Through yoga I have made important connections, and lifelong friends. Through yoga, I've been given the ability to help reshape our world, by contributing to peace by finding it within my own heart. I have many wonderful people in my life who support me in my endeavors as I do theirs. I am so blessed to be able to share my gift, which is what allows us to express what is truly wonderful and awesome about ourselves. Indeed, teaching has become a form of meditation for me. True, as teachers our job is to help facilitate the heightened experience, but each time we sit down to teach, we have to bring ourselves into a heightened state in order to transmit the teaching. As the class proceeds, we move deeper into this state, and it's normally during the juicy parts of the class when we feel the most connected to the students. There is a sense of oneness, where effort and intention join forces with the ebb and flow of breath to create a harmonious dance of mind, bodies, and spirit. At some point during this process I sometimes realize that I'm not actually doing anything, it's happening and I'm simply observing. The doer and the doing become the same thing. These are the profound moments when my reason for doing yoga become crystal clear.

One Love and Namaste!

J Miles

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