My Life as a Yogi

I have been practicing yoga for six years and teaching for three of them. It is a journey of learning a new way to do a pose, seeing things from a different perspective and many other assortment of changes. When I teach my students, I read quotes, stories, or do sequences that generate the energy I sense is needed. Ironically, what I sense they need, I need too. Definitely a win-win situation.

I recently learned that my calmness and approach to teaching gives the illusion that I am in a constant state of peace. After talking to a long term student and friend about some issues that were bothering me, she shocked me with the statement..."I can't believe you ever get angry"! I immediately purged a bunch of stuff that has been bothering me and saw the relief in her face that I get pissed off just like anyone else. I'm a yogi, not a saint. Whew...feels good to get that off my chest!

Here's my revelation for this week: Unless you have become "enlightened", you will experience all ranges of emotions. We may practice yoga, but we're still humans with emotions. The difference, at least for me, is that it is short lived. Prior to a yoga lifestyle, anger, frustration, or even excitement would last longer or on a higher scale. Now, it still manifests; however, is more balanced. Emotions don't hang on as long. Personally, I cannot decide if that is an age thing, a yoga mindset or a fusion of both. Here's one more confession...I don't even care to become enlightened. Sounds initially great to be in constant bliss...but, what's left to experience or learn while here? I'll save my "bliss mode" for the afterlife. My feelings about that could change at some point; however, that is the beauty of living without a rigid mindset of what's right and what's wrong. Focus on now.

Truth about me: I am full of gratitude for all that I have in my life. Second truth, I have frustration with others that do not or cannot practice gratitude. I get angry with the greed, corruption, and distortion of the truth from the media and government. I get agitated with the mindset of the "technology savvy" group that state they "can't live without their cell phone." Really? Since when did a cell phone give life? I get disgusted the more I learn how food is processed so the corporations can get more money. And, don't even get me started on the pharmaceutical industry. I get aggravated by my own family members that don't seem to "get it". Then, I have to get myself back on track and keep the judging to a minimum. Lord knows I have enough to dredge up if one wanted to throw stones back at me. I have my own life to live without worrying how others are choosing to live theirs.

One secret is to get centered into your own well-being. One person cannot change the world. It truly is a collective effort. It starts with one and is passed on to the next and so on. Get enough on the collective mindset and the tipping point of awareness will be ignited. I do believe in the goodness that resides in the heart of all people. It is just a matter of igniting the flame brigher. That is where my intention as a yoga teacher comes in.

The practice and teaching of yoga keeps me on track. Sometimes I wish I would not get agitated or impatient at times. But, it does serve a purpose. To not feel the same emotions that others feel would make compassion a challenge. Just like the saying goes, "you have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to understand." To act like I don't have any challenges or fears would be totally conflictive with one of yoga's 8 limbs...truthfulness.

I seek balance. Everything in moderation, as Buddha said. Anything in the extreme has negative effects. So what is my life as a yogi? It is a journey of love, fun, learning, revelations, and gratitude for each challenge and gift. Add some negative emotions from time to time and the see-saw stays pretty balanced. To have it any other way would not be a very active life. But, that is my choice. It works for me. I simply wish that others find what works for them to truly live life to the fullest...yogi or not.

Just remember what Mark Twain said: "20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by what you didn't do vs. what you did do...explore, dream, discover." Pretty good philosophy to remember and practice.
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