I don’t know if I’m one of those “crazy yoga people.”
Yoga has become so many things to so many people. I’ve been through my phases. I’ve almost died trying to wrap my body in poses where it didn’t belong because I saw it in Yoga Journal and became obsessed with it. I’ve cried because I hit a pose and realized I was capable if I was patient with myself and my body. I’ve cried in poses because I felt so open and free. I’ve danced because it felt like the right thing to do between a Warrior I and a Warrior II. I tried to learn sanskrit because I wanted to be just like the other yoga teachers who were criticizing me for not being “official” like them and I did yoga to Bob Marley, Al Green, Ciara, T.I., Tupac and Justin Timberlake (I really like him) because I didn’t want to be like ANYBODY.
And here I am. I’ve been teaching for almost nine years. In less than a week, I start a 200 hour yoga teacher training, I don’t lose sleep over not being able to do a handstand, I will still play Bob Marley in class (did an ENTIRE class of it about three weeks ago), am in LOVE with the idea of being a student and have a freedom in my classes that I have never had before. How’s THAT for yoga month?
This evo/revolution started when I went to L.A. for the IDEA World Convention. I INTENTIONALLY signed up for classes that were yoga based as I knew I was going to be signing up for this training and I knew “I” needed to slow down. I spotted Kelly McGonigal on the schedule whom I have been
stalking following for years and I knew I had to finally meet in her in person. I signed up for a yoga for type A personalities (not that I teach any of THOSE type people) and something else. When I was in class for the first couple of days, I felt stressed. I wanted to DO. I wasn’t tapped in to myself. I was in a class that had more squats than yoga. I didn’t need that. I needed to do some YOGA. And when I got to Kelly’s class and just started BREATHING, I literally wanted to run and chest bump her at the end and say, “YES!!!!!’ because I was right where I wanted to be, vulnerable and out of my head of trying to get it right. Now, there WAS still a part of me that wanted to do everything “right” because, well, she’s Kelly McGonigal and she KNOWS I’m a yoga teacher. But getting “it” right was more about being present than it was about doing anything else. And I needed to show up.
I came home and my instinct was all off. I ended up teaching more. FAIL. While I LOVE my students and what I do and I had a chance to incorporate some of what I learned, I needed to sit on my mat and work with myself some. Because teaching is learning BUT I didn’t need more of that type. I needed “Tasha calm your butt down and get on this mat and see what happens in YOUR body” learning. I started doing some of the practices through Yoga Download. I couldn’t focus. Too many distractions at home. Wanted to go back to Bikram Yoga. Couldn’t find the time. Too much traveling. And then I met Camille Moses Allen.
Going to Baltimore and being at Under Armour was exciting enough, believe me. And when I got up that second day sore as I don’t know what, doing yoga sounded real good. But, umm, yeah, Camille wasn’t trying to stretch me out with some music of trees blowing in the wind. She was jamming some Cee-Lo and she was trying to work us. And she already knew I had signed up for my teacher training. Dang.
What I really liked about Camille was her attention to extremely minute detail. Her very small adjustments changed my thinking. I always think BIG. Everything was so “just a little bit.” And because of that I was able to not feel so stressed about being completely out of whack, like my entire yoga career was a joke because I would find out I had been doing something wrong for years, which is what I was used to being told. I was realizing that we were just all different and adjustments are for ease not for scolding. I was a little apprehensive about Matt taking pictures (I was a major fail for that Instagram yoga photo challenge thing. I can’t hold poses for camera sake. I just do stuff.) but, let me tell you, it was affirming and eye opening. I was able to correct my form because of it and hi-give myself because he caught some things on camera that, in my mind, I never thought I was doing correctly. And, yet, I had to learn to practice it and walk away from it. That’s what I am learning from my new teacher Kerry.
I would do something on the yoga mat, fail at it and then torture myself with it for days. Practice is about working with it and walking away from what you have done, whatever the results may be, without becoming
obsessed attached to it. I was so attached to my failures that I was no longer enjoying the practice because the weight of it all either kept me from going back to the mat or would pin me down on it. I’ve probably done more yoga classes in the past two months than I have done in the years. And while I still approach the mat with apprehension (maybe I am just an anxious person?) I still look forward to getting on there, more than ever, learning to just BE with whatever shows up. That’s the balance I’ve been looking for since the first time I ever did yoga many years ago.
I am headed out of town for work and I am taking my yoga mat so I can work on some things in the hotel. No lights, no pics for Instagram. Just me and maybe Bob Marley working it out so I can continue to work in and learn to just be.
Do you do yoga? What do you love about it the most? If you’ve never tried it, I encourage to find a class and take a chance.
Happy National Yoga Month!