Friday, October 9, 2009

Setting free the butterflies

Last Friday I taught a yoga class for the staff at EF. All day, I felt a sense of nervous anticipation and was vaguely aware of little butterflies persistently flapping around my tummy. I felt like an impostor waiting to be revealed, and that at any moment, lightening bolts might come out of the sky and I would be smited for the audacity of trying to teach others at this tender stage of my practice. The lightening bolts never struck, but there was a pretty spectacular rainstorm, and I slunk into the office with my yoga mat while the other teachers were still in class and took a few moments to try and boost my confidence. A friend that I met in Mysore, India called me a yoga baby, seeing as how I have only been walking this path for a little over a year; it is meant to be a lifelong practice, something that a person might do into a ripe old age, so the comparison is not so far off. What business does a baby have trying to teach anyone anything? I set my reservations aside, seeing how excited the ladies at the office all were, and decided that even though my knowledge is limited, I can share the bit I know, as I have been taught, and hope to pass on a little bit of the positivity and vitality yoga has brought to me. We got set up and I was surprised as one of the ladies changed her clothes and slipped off her head covering to reveal her hair, something that many Muslims will only do amongst their families. It was a group of all women, so there is no taboo there, but it brought a certain level of intimacy to the class. We started talking about breathing and bandhas, basic elements of any yoga practice, and moved on to some slow surya namaskara (sun salutations). There were titters and giggles as I demonstrated the vinyasas and I think I may have heard something like "she looks like a lion!" There was a surge of confidence inside me as I watched these ladies, never exposed to any yoga before, work their way through these first movements, and settle into the structure of an Ashtanga yoga class. Some of the students were struggling, as is expected, and some were managing the asana with remarkable ease, and I reminded them that yoga is not something to be achieved in a single practice, that it is meant to be practiced "slowly, slowly, and all is coming." (Guruji, Pattabhi Jois) When everyone collapsed gratefully into savasana, the final resting posture, I felt as though I had conveyed something of this yoga to my small group of students, and was pleased to share my experience (limited though it may be) with them. It is very special to watch people learn, and it has inspired me all week in my personal practice. Class is being held again tonight, and it looks as though it will be a weekly event, so I suppose I should set the butterflies in my tummy free into the world, and just go with it.... if the universe is pointing me in this direction, then this is the path I will follow.


1 comment:

  1. Good job Ashley (Asli)..Keep on doing it..sharing is the best way GOD gives us..