It came to my attention this week that most of the metaphors I use in my teaching are related to food and cooking. Hey, we're supposed teach what we know, right? Hold out your hand like you're holding a pizza. Imagine relaxing the feet and palms so they spread wide like a baking cookie. Reach your arm like there is a piece of cheese just out of grasp. While these work for me, and I know my student was mainly kidding, it did get me thinking. These metaphors can easily push someone into a serious dinner fantasy ten minutes into class, which isn't necessarily helpful. One of my takeaways from recommitting to meditation this month has been learning that I can't meditate on an empty stomach- not unless I want to spend twenty minutes dreaming of a breakfast sandwich. Part of why we practice paying attention is so we can spend less time pulled from the present by desires and fantasies served up by the mind- to be more conscious of our patterns so we have the option to choose something different. In my teaching, I am now aware of a pattern and can consciously look for better alternatives that may be more accessible and more helpful for my students.
Instead of food, let's look at the (mostly living) plants in my house. I was not born with a green thumb. Luckily, I have learned from my mom and sister that the best ways to keep plants healthy and happy are deadheading flowers and pruning the dying leaves. Cutting the parts that aren't working allows the plant to redirect energy into what is still growing and green. At times I don't notice for weeks- which doesn't bode well for my plants. That first step in pruning- seeing what needs to go- isn't any different for us humans. This awareness can provide a better handle on what needs to be cut from our lives to make room for something different. This could mean putting down the phone to be more present for your kids, choosing to have your meals not in front of the television, or looking around while walking down the street and really seeing. We all have habits that aren't helping us live our best lives. We're human after all. The first step in growth along this path is just paying attention so if there are things to change, you at least notice them! #thisiswhywepractice
About this blog
This blog, together with the occasional newsletter, will be an active space to share thoughts about yoga on and off the mat. Please let me know what you like and what you'd like to see more of. And as always, thank you for the gift of teaching!