Yesterday in my Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training we were discussing the qualities of a teacher; ranging from the voice and language they use to the space and atmosphere they create. In groups we discussed negative experiences we’d had with teachers, and we discussed positive and inspirational experiences with teachers.
One thing that was apparent from the discussions was that the atmosphere or space created by a teacher is so important – a space of inclusivity, openness, and acceptance. We talked about how our role is to meet practitioners where they are in that moment, offer to guide them through a practice, but ultimately know that their practice is personal and unique to them, and it is what they need in that exact moment.
I often remember one of the most profound moments I’ve ever had in a yoga class – it was during my teacher training where we started each day with a practice. We were invited onto our mats, invited to check in with our emotions, our bodies, our energy – and I burst into tears. I ended up spending most of the hour crying, just sat on my mat.
There were a few potential reasons for my crying, all spoken about in an Instagram post I made at the time (below). But regardless of the reason for my tears, they were needed, and more importantly, in that space, they were welcome. I felt held. It was exactly what I needed in that moment, and that’s yoga.
It can sound like a joke when we say to practitioners that if they want to spend the entire practice in a Child’s Pose or curled up in blankets they can, but we mean it. Yoga is about being in the present moment, meeting our bodies and minds where they are in that moment, and turning our attention inwards, acknowledging, and accepting what’s there.
According to yoga philosophy and psychology, the only place to begin an investigation of yoga – or of anything for that matter – is the present moment, because this is all that is actually occurring. The future has not yet arisen and the past has passed, and therefore the only thing we really have to investigate, and the only way to begin paying attention is from within this experience as it unfolds right here and right now.Michael Stone – The Inner Tradition of Yoga
I wasn’t sure what to call this post, but I decided on ‘It’s all yoga!’ because that’s what my group ended our conversation with – after we’d talked about crying in yoga, spending the practice curled up in blankets, strong asana practice, meditation, mindful movements…if we’re tuning into the present moment, it’s all yoga!