Yoga is a practice. Just like learning the piano, picking up salsa or ballroom dancing, learning a martial art like Aikido, learning tennis, or billiards. We start knowing nothing and slowly we progress. A teacher in any of these ventures will help set us on the right direction and help us correct bad habits that we pick up along the way. But, ultimately, we grow and progress in our practice by putting the time in, day in and day out. Often we will overcome challenges to poses, tight areas, and weak points not because of the guidance of a teacher but just simply because we will discover for ourselves a better way to be in the practice. This simple formula of practice applies to anything in life. We apply ourselves to what we wish to develop – with devotion and intensity, under a regular schedule and we stick with it over time. As we continue on our practice we will naturally feel our body condition itself to adapt to the workload we are putting it under. Mental obstacles that come up we slowly overcome by both diligence and flashes of unexpected insight or intuition. This all happens naturally, organically. The teacher is there to help a little bit along the way but the real weight of responsibility lies with the student. It’s up to you. Thank heavens for that!
Richmond Beach Yoga is not a teacher centered studio but a student centered studio. What this means is that we are not looking for yoga celebrities or yoga divas to inspire and dazzle the students who then will be unable to practice what was taught the second they leave the studio or class. Instead, we are creating a culture in which students feel the confidence and joy of a strong and sustainable practice in which they are developing through virtue of their own efforts.
When we come together as a community before and after class, watch if you are getting caught on focusing on and talking about how things external to you are affecting your practice. Or, conversely, are you talking or thinking about the challenges you are facing in your own practice and how proud you are for having overcome something or how frustrated you are at the current wall you might have hit in a pose or attitude somewhere along the way. It’s only natural that a few weeks or months later we will talking or thinking with pride about how we moved through the wall we were complaining about earlier!
Are we talking about how someone or something outside of us has the power to affect change in our lives or are we talking with pride and care about how we are doing everything in our power to affect change from the inside out? Please consider these two states of mind very carefully. There are experienced yogi’s, even some who become teachers, who still obsess over others and are still waiting for something from the outside to help them to develop just a little bit more. Let’s all work to make RBY a place where we support each other by first taking responsibility for our own practice, and then just watch how the energy in the room will become electric and filled with inspiration! There’s nothing more wonderful than discovering for ourselves a new way to be in a pose, a new way to hold the mind steady and with quiet equanimity. To anyone who really gives themselves to their practice, these moments of inspiration happen with surprising regularity. But, if you’re not careful, you’ll say it was the teacher who did this, who created the inspiration or energy – or the amazing yogi next to you. No. No. No. It was you! You made that happen! How wonderful that we can be our own instruments of change and development. Let’s please all work together to create this sort of culture at RBY.