This week, I have had at least 5 brand new students come up to me to ask me specific questions about why their body would not perform for them the way they thought it should….
As I listen to the questions and watch their facial expressions become anxiety-ridden while pointing to areas on their body that they do not feel at all comfortable with, I have come to realize that this is all part of the process of transformation. As a grown woman who has spent 25 years in the fitness and education industry and a former teen who spent the bulk of her years battling an eating disorder, I can say definitively that this is the work I am meant to do. A quote I have read in class my Oprah Winfrey is “This is the body you’ve been given, love the one you’ve got” It is always a phrase the people relate to. Why is it that somewhere down the line we got the message that there is a template that all humans should fall into.
In the teacher training, the first weekend is always where the biggest transformation takes place. I love watching students react when they learn the science about how muscles create tension, the role of different tissues in the body and whether or not anything stretches, the subtleties of anatomy and individual structure, and the connection between what happens in our physical body in connection to our thoughts and intentions. As the course continues, students’ practices change dramatically. They begin assessing how much they have been pushing themselves in their practice and whether or not it is appropriate. They begin playing with smaller ranges of motion to test neuromuscular control and other variations of these poses that were handed down years ago by people living in a different time and place. It is a joy for Donna and myself to watch, as new teachers are born.
In the studio, I have noticed that people start to say that they are feeling stronger and that old injuries are getting better. One of the best compliments I received from a student and MAT client was that the Barre class she took at Yoga IS was the only one that didn’t hurt her back because she was given a specific routine in class that assessed her range of motion and was instructed to stay within those confines when performing standing hip exercises. I have some wonderful personal training clients that I greatly respect, as they routinely tell me if they feel less energetic on any given day or if they need to respect an area of their body so that we can devise the session accordingly. They have learned that a perfect body is not the goal. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with clients that have worked with me for ten or more years throughout a multitude of life changes. It is inspirational to teach them to stay consistent and try not to beat themselves up when they fall “off the wagon”. Of course there are many who don’t get this and I have my work cut out for me, but overall I know that this is my mission in my work. I want to help as many people as I can to learn to feel better inside of their bodies, as I work to do inside of my own EVERY day.
The staff that has evolved at Yoga I.S. feel the same. I watch Kristen and Ashley deal with children in the kids yoga classes. As I watch the kids after a session, they are twirling around doing all kinds of poses in class showing all of us what they can do, all with a huge smile on their face. This is what it is all about! Teaching kids early on how to enjoy the body they have. I see people come in that are older, less fit, and dealing with all kinds of issues. I watch the care that Donna, Eric, Jenny, and Kim give these people and the smiles that they have when they leave. I am so grateful for the family we are creating and how Yoga has been the glue, with a specific methodology.
So when I had the student yesterday that was upset about her hip issues and I explained how it was not her fault, how achieving a specific position was not the goal, and that a prop could be used to activate muscles in the hip for better control in the pose, I realized again why I do what I do. The relief on her face was a present to me. I know that by allowing her to be accepting of herself, she will have so many other great things to explore in her practice. Undoubtedly, she will find that her “limitation” is a blessing and that she will gain more wisdom by working with it. She will find strength that she never thought possible…and she will maybe help someone else.