I’m going to try to keep this short.
I have been a yoga student for almost 16 years. I have taught children as a volunteer, I have taught friends as a gift and I’ve recently started giving private lessons.
I just returned from providing a private lesson to a good friend and her husband.
As I’m not yet certified, I feel odd asking for payment or even suggesting a rate despite my experience. But my friends have insisted.
For today’s session, I drove to her. The private time it afforded me back and forth in my car was so nice. I heard no requests for a cookie or a question about a video game. I just listened to my yoga music and stayed in my space.
True yoga is not about pretzel bodies, or heat-induced hyper flexion, or pinky-finger balances. It’s been so contorted (ironically) by the media and the craving of the masses to come up with something new — as if 5,000-year-old yoga and meditation on their own isn’t good enough; people have to go inventing new versions of it: yogalates and hot yoga… soon there will be pogoyoga on pogo sticks and YOLOyoga where you do poses on Jersey walls or during bank heists. “Stick ’em up into Virabradrasana I, I want your arms sky high and hold that for 50 breaths until my yogi and I can clear outta here… then take a five minute svasana. Go somewhere special in your heads, somewhere without demands on your life. Namaste an’ shit… y’all. YOLO.”
There is no mat for the egos. Neither the teacher’s nor the student’s. We all start from where we are at that moment.
Where we are –at that moment– naturally varies from day to day; minute to minute. What felt tight one moment might feel loose the next. What felt fine one moment might indeed ache the next. We must be present, honest and aware, in our minds and in our hearts — both as teachers and as students — to truly grow.
That my friends have trusted me with their health, bodies and their spirits (of their own or their children) is so humbling. That my friend’s husband smiled even after I pressed him further into a pose and told me where the “money poses” were for him… That he said, “I almost went there…” after we transitioned from svasana warmed my heart. It made my spirit soar.
People who take yoga lessons might think that they’re getting a great release, a wonderful lengthening, a challenge to their core or their legs and a 90-minute break from the hither and dither of life, but they’re not the only ones. For the teachers, the moments and space of trust and peace and company are truly: priceless.
I think that’s also why I am uncomfortable taking a fee for the lessons: what we share, what I give and what I get simply can’t be quantified… but I know its value.
I am forever thank-full.