Among the things I love most about teaching yoga is that I live in a constant dance between the roles of student and teacher. This path has given me an incredible appreciation for human strength and frailty - and the importance of compassion for life in all its forms. In any given week my clients include toddlers, high-powered professionals, retirees, full time mamas, and everyone in between. I teach in homes, offices, studios, churches, and shelters. We meet early in the morning, in the middle of the day, and late at night. Through these disparate settings and populations, one thing is clear: we are not really so different from one another. We all have good days and bad days. We all suffer injury and need rest and recovery. We all come to places in which we need to be challenged. Our yoga practice (and our lives) need to be flexible if we are to survive - let alone thrive.
When an elderly client becomes frustrated about forgetting a basic pose, I can remind him to be kind to himself and make a mental note to do the same when faced with my own episodes of forgetfulness. When I witness a student whose practice is compromised by injury, I can counsel ahimsa and remind myself to be equally compassionate when my husband complains of a sore back. When the little ones in my tots class are bursting with uncontainable energy, I can encourage them to take a deep breath and exhibit the same patience when my own toddler is acting out.
We all encounter highs and lows in our interactions. How can we learn from these experiences and apply the lessons to better care for our loved ones and ourselves?