I ran into a friend at my local coffeehouse today. She and I are both yoga teachers and we’ve practiced with many of the same teachers over the years. We got to talking about not only how our teaching has changed over the past few years but how much of our practice has changed, individually, from where we started. We both used to teach and practice a very heated vigorous style of yoga. We’d follow the poses to the letter of the law, teach them in the same sequence, for the most part, every class. I can’t speak entirely for her but I can say for myself, I never thought I would tire of the sequence or the process of working my body in that particular way.
When we sat today and talked, we both spoke of how our teaching and practice has changed over the past few years. Gone is the process of teaching in the same place; we both teach in a variety of settings. Gone is the mindset that one style what we need; we both practice in a few different studios and with different teachers. Gone is the affection for very hot, sweaty yoga; while there is sometimes a place for that, the majority of our classes are heated but a bit more compassionate to the body. We spoke of the perspective we had then ( ” this is all we will ever need”) and the perspective we have now ( ” that was great in some ways, but it doesn’t completely serve us now”). We talked of how freeing our teaching is now, but in part, only because we had the structure of the past. We spoke of feeling free now to teach from a place of experience and joy, using different poses, music and even practicing with our students at times ( things we would have never thought of doing in the past).
James Taylor sings in one of his best songs, “The Secret of Life,” a line that goes, ” the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” Looking at my yoga practice and yoga teaching style, I can see that over time things have changed. At times, I’ve felt a bit lost and a bit confused about which way to go. At times, I ‘ve lost my connection and my passion for practice and replaced it with more running. But instead of fighting it, the way to go is to be at peace with it. And eventually, if it’s something that you have a true connection to, you will come back but it’ll be a different experience. What serves us once does not always serve us in the same way over time. We’re always taking little bits and pieces from every experience. That is not to say we’re judging the “good” or “bad” ( at least in this case, that’s not my point). But what we do when we “enjoy the passage of time” is we go with the flow. We resist “resisting”‘ change and forward movement. We integrate our past experiences, we filter them through our hearts and minds and we come out on the other side an amalgam of all our experiences. We can all relate to relationships that we thought would never end that have, movies we saw multiple times years ago and loved and now catch them on TV and can’t believe we ever swooned over them ( “Footloose, anyone?). That’s life. That’s the transient nature of things. But because we’re thinking, living beings, we have a huge opportunity to take from every experience and improve, grow and move forward.
I have no idea what my yoga practice, yoga teaching and lifestyle will be like in a year, 2 years or 10. I just continue to look forward to becoming stronger, healthier and wiser.