effort versus ease

Student mind, student mind, student mind, I am silently chanting to myself.  I am in an all levels, vinyasa flow yoga class, in Denver, Colorado.

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(Look! Denver! Continental divide!  It snowed for the entire time I was there. Womp womp.)

Brushing off my dear friend’s warning about Denver yogis being “athletic” and “competitive,” I rolled out a borrowed yoga mat, and got ready to be the student, instead of the teacher.  Why am I chanting this little ditty to myself?  Because as a teacher, it can be so difficult to let go and just be the student.

The class is decent.  As a teacher who is obsessively passionate about safe anatomy and alignment, there were some hiccups (transitioning from Warrior I to Warrior II. Owwies in your hip!! Frog Lotus Yogis, you know what I mean.), but all in all, I enjoyed it.  I let my body flow, and as I tuned into the energy in the room, I noticed something that doesn’t happen in the classes that I normally teach and take back home.

Effort. Efforting. I’m using that made-up word right now.  Efforting.  Because no one in that room was in a state of ease.  Surrounded by pushing, and huffing and “Work your core for bikini season, ladies!” I realized that was what seriously lacking here, was a sense of ease; ease to balance out all of the effort.

Now, while this is happening I’m thinking “Should I approach this teacher after class and give her notes?  As a teacher I love getting notes from other teachers.  Is that rude? Look at this student.  I could totally help her alignment!!” and so on and so forth.  I was mentally meddling with this class and these students!  I was in teacher judgement mode.  I WAS being rude, if only inside my head, but still. Spiritual yogi party foul, for sure.  I silently apologized, and found deep gratitude for this teacher, because she was teaching me something else very important.  Long story short, I finished the class, thanked the teacher and left, slightly embarrassed by the acrobatics of my inner mind.

What I am reflecting on now is this:

Effort must be balanced by ease.

This relates directly to my teaching journey.  I have spent the last 6 years efforting.  There has been little ease.  Few times, have I actually felt like I was using my true gifts and abilities.  When I told my teaching mentor that I was planning to leave, she looked at me wisely and said, “I understand.  You’ve had a rough go, and you need some wins.”  I believe she meant: You need some time to feel good at what you’re doing, to be in a state of flow, in a state of ease.  Not that it’s meant to be easy, but that there must be a balance, and that it’s not just effort for effort’s sake.  There is a time for that, but not every day in a teaching job.  Teaching is thankless, without a doubt, but being in despair all of the time, negates the effort.

Since I resigned, I’ve had countless offers pouring in, for all kinds of jobs and projects I never imagined.  It’s still scary, I still feel strange trying to explain to people why I have chosen this path.  But every day, I feel more ease, it becomes more easeful (another made-up word. you’re welcome.) and I am continually grateful, surprised and in a state of wonderment.  Thank you Denver yogis.  I bow in gratitude to your wisdom and your effort.  It is profound.  May you find ease, and killer bikini bodies.

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