Be Your Own Teacher
Sometimes a student will tell me, “That was a really hard class.” The level of challenge or difficulty in a class has so many factors associated with it. A class that’s easy for me might be absolute torture for you. A class that’s hard for me today might be a piece of cake for me tomorrow. The level of challenge in a class varies so much, depending on factors like how our bodies are feeling, any injuries we may or may not have, what style of yoga is being taught, if we are focused or distracted, and even the energy in the room. Ever been in a class where everyone is breathing so deeply that you feel extra encouragement to breathe deeply yourSELF and end up totally fired up by the sea of breath and rock out an amazingly powerful practice? Love that!
But what happens if you attend a gentle class expecting to be given the gift of nurturing relaxation, but the teacher decides to kick things up a notch and add a bit ‘o challenge? What happens if you show up for a class feeling super strong and just bursting with enthusiasm and end up being instructed to take child’s pose over and over again? You may feel frustration or disappointment that the yoga class is different than what you expected.
What if you decided to be your own teacher?
I mean this in a slightly metaphorical sense: I am not encouraging you to just ignore everything that your teacher is saying and do your own thing! But I always remind my students to listen to their bodies and trust themselves. So what if you decided to add in an extra push-up in chaturanga to add a little challenge for yourself? What if you rested in an early savasana during the last inversion if you were wiped out and didn’t want to be upside down anymore? What if you asked the teacher for a modification for a posture if you found that you were straining and holding your breath? As you become more familiar with the postures, you can learn to tailor them to fit your needs each time you practice.
We can take this idea off the mat as well. It’s super easy to blame other people when things don’t go the way we want them to in our lives. What if we took responsibility for our actions? What if we found growth opportunities in life’s challenges? Your life is teeming with possibility: Do you OWN IT?!
How can you be your own teacher both on and off the mat?