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.
(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.