Thats usually how I introduce myself to a yoga class if I am subbing, or if there are newbies. Of course I expect some or all of the class to slip into 'DO WHAT YOU'RE TOLD' mode, without regard for your body's signals. Thats why I walk around the class to remind everyone to breathe, and listen to themselves. I also verbally shock participants with strategic sailor talk. Its swarthy comic relief, with a blast of truth that hits home, HARD! It interrupts rigid patterns we have created, and opens up a door for a new way to experience yourself/life. Plus its fun!
Recently, a great opportunity arose during a Long Island yoga class that I subbed for.
Let me set the stage. Its mid-class, I'm sarcastically pushing everyone's buttons, with light-hearted reminders while they move and breathe. Saying things like:
3/4 of the way into class, everyone was in their version of shoulder stand. I walked by a young girl who was looking uncomfortable. She said aloud as I passed, ". . . this hurts my neck.". What could I do? How was I to proceed? She vocally drew attention to her predicament, and I felt inspiration COURSING through me like a comedian during an encore. I couldn't pass this up. Here is how I responded:
Of course I said this loud enough for the whole class to witness. Once all of the students noticed that sarcasm was evident, we shared a great laugh. We are FAR TOO SERIOUS in yoga sometimes. But this opportunity was perfectly placed to receive immense value from the experience. Opportunity for:
It is the 'ah HA' moment when you go from being unaware to full realization of what you are doing/practicing/feeling. Call it clarity. You are mindful enough to realize a pattern, because you see it from a new perspective. Yoga doesn't want to change you. It simply wants to make you aware. Why? Because that awareness gives you a CHOICE. Before the awareness, what you do or think is just the way. You know the saying "its just the way its always been." But when you see another perspective, options open up. You actually create your own FREEDOM. And what is better than that, America?
There are always choices in EVERY situation. But they may not be easily spotted if you've trained yourself to think a certain way. Thats like feeling forced against your will. And the funny thing is, its all our own doing! We create our lives every day by what and how we practice. If our practice is strong enough, it becomes a story. That story is SO GOOD that we define ourselves by it. Its our story! We can't detach. It is who we are. . . . . But is it really?
You are the creator of your own reality. Much like the situation I described, yoga didn't hurt that student, I didn't hurt that student, SHE WAS HURTING HERSELF! Suffering is optional. You might have to experience your own painful motivation to help you realize that, but it IS a choice. If you're not aware of it, don't worry it will get louder. Hopefully it doesn't get so loud that you're actually snapping your neck before you stop the momentum, but you get the idea. The momentum is YOUR momentum. YOUR story. YOUR experience. Make sure its one you enjoy, because you're writing the next chapter right now.