I think, for the most part, my alternative alias is an asana instructors. I’m good at aligning people’s body in the optimal way so that they can feel a little more free in their everyday life. Whether, as a yoga teacher, I’m guiding them down a spiritual path towards enlightenment is debatable, but I do my best to uplift my students.
Some of us our also storytellers, the use of creative expression of analogy and metaphor. We share our point of view or life experience and express it in a way that is relative to the practice, but also to the greater understanding of the world around us. We talk about the modern day Warriors that wisely walk amongst the common crowd, about shedding the habits of our Cobra skin or the Salmon swimming upstream between the inward flow of our Uttanasana river-banked legs.
Sometimes, the class we teach can feel like an upward battle against the stream, and at other times it’s a flavour thats in our favour. But like salmon spawning, we help to bring our schoolmates back to the place where they were born, perhaps a place in their hearts where we can call home. Just like salmon, at the very end of our journeys, we return back to the Earth, as decaying flesh, a corpse. But these salmon fishies have purpose and they do not die in vain. Nor do us yogis come to class without a reason (albeit we may not consciously know). The salmon give birth to a new generation of their own species. Do yogis give birth to something other than a Happy Baby, perhaps a happier being, a placid mind or a free flowing spirit?
Much of the classes that I go to in which I experience this rebirth, of a newfound clarity when I open my eyes from Savasana, is often when I feel this teacher has laid their heart out onto the chopping block, either to be transformed into Divine tasting works of artful asana, or thorn aside into the rest of the pile of commercial grade forgettable food (sidenote: the chopping block is usually the fabric of our own neurotic imagination, the ego has its way of making us feel divided) Either way, we teach regardless of success or failure, for yoga is perfect evenness of mind. Yoga teachers are martyrs who give up their heart for the gift of vulnerability. By definition: exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed either physically (if you’re not bio-mechcanically aligned) or emotionally (the subject of being judged, but mostly as a victim of ourselves). The gift is offering of the opportunity for others to be inspired, empowered and reborn. Salmon who decide to spawn are vulnerable, there’s no turning back once their in, but the opportunity to give birth to something new is invaluable.
Yes… I am dramatic and enjoy glorifying the role of yoga teachers. I take incredible pride in what I do. But like yoga, which stretches into every part of life, this gift of vulnerability, is found in so many other ways. We open our hearts when performing on stage or presenting artwork, proposing to your high school crush that you’re madly in love, asking the boss for a healthy raise for the work you’ve done, even the writing of this blog. The fear and courage of being vulnerable is always available to me to be experienced, the matter is whether I choose to take the path which goes upstream, where vacations are rare or non-existent.