I got up this morning and met Zoe for Maricarmen's flow class which was a lot of fun. Great music, precise instructions for the inner and outer body, creative sequencing, great students all held together with Maricarmen's very delightful and loving presence. And what fun to practice with Zoe and Sam and just be together on the mat. Always a good time.
I came home, had lunch with Kelly and spent the afternoon doing a lot of work on the computer. I am compiling a mailing list and I would love everyone who reads the blog to be on it. The easiest way for me to include you is for you to go to Christina Sell Yoga on Facebook. And then from there "like" the page. After that, click on the link for E-news and type in your email address. Then, in about a month, you will get my first e-newsletter! Easy as pie.
After an afternoon of computer work, I met up with Gia for her class at Bodhi Yoga. Anohter fabulous foray into fun flow and some freakin' awesome back bends which was delightful. There was a nice amount of heat in the room, a great lead up with twists which usually really help my back bends (not to mention all the deep groin work from the weekend) and a rockin' sound track and voila, into the back bend zone I went. After class and a shower, Gia and I got some food at Whole Foods and talked for a while which was lovely.
As I was taking a bath at home tonight I was reflecting on my day and I got to thinking about this text I got from a student/friend. Some friends are not students and some students do not become friends and yet, in a few cases, friends are students and students are friends. (This would probably be a great thing to post about. Anusara Yoga has no strict, defined code about such things as with us, it always depends, right? For instance, I have had wonderful friendships with students over the years. I have had success at teaching my friends who wander into may classes. And I have also had great students who I never had a friendship with. I have had great friends who never do yoga with me. I have also had students with whom I have tried to have a friendship and it didn't work well at all. Really, I think it depends on a lot of things how well it has worked. But this is not the point of the story.)
In this case, this is a student who I am also friends with and she saw in Yoga Journal that I was on the teaching faculty for the Estes Park Conference in September. So she texted me with congratulations and she said, "All your hard work has paid off." I read the text and while I knew what she was saying, it hit me in a really funny way.
Now don't get me wrong, I am honored to be invited to present at the Grand Gathering. I really am. I am so pleased that I get to participate in the event and I am super psyched about it because it is a really cool thing. Think about it-- 800 people in Estes Park, all there to delight in the art of asana, the creative pulse of community and the breathtaking scenery that is Estes Park, Colorado! (Seriously, sign up now. And come to my classes!)
Also, I have no problem with Yoga Journal. I think these conferences are amazing opportunities for people to come together and share the love of yoga. I think they are great times for people to experience a wide variety of teachers and expose themselves to some of the best of what yoga has to offer. And I think its great to have an industry magazine that is growing, changing and doing tis best to reflect the ever-changing landscape of Yoga in America. So I am good with all that.
But I have to say, neither of those things is in any way "my pay off for hard work." Not by a long shot, nor do I hope they ever become my pay off. The fact that I have this great friend who I occasionally get to teach is a pay off for sure. And the fact that there are many more people I teach and share my life with and explore the practice with is a pay off. The fact that I have work that reminds me on a daily basis about what matters to me is a pay off. The fact that I have a healthy, strong and capable body is a pay off. The emails I get from people who read this blog and find some anecdote, story, or teaching in here that makes life just a little meaningful are my pay off. I do make my living this way and having work I love so much pay my bills is a pay off for working hard but let's be clear, I am paid way before I ever get a check and long before I was ever invited to a conference to teach.
And I know this person knows that because she is smart and insightful and she knows my heart. I know what she was trying to say is that she was happy for me and proud of me and how hard I work. And believe me, I am happy about the acknowledgement. Of course, that is lovely. (And when you are friends with a writer, unfortunately, your innocent comment becomes a blog topic more than once so you have to know that also!) But it got me thinking about how as yoga teachers, very few of us are on a big stage. Most of us in this clan are serving in very meaningful, quiet and profound ways quite under the radar.
As a yoga teacher, we witness the ups and downs of our student's lives. We are there as students graduate from college, get engaged, get married, deal with pregnancies, divorce, job changes, injuries, illnesses, bankruptcies and windfalls. And those same students watch as we teachers grow, change, mature, refine and purify ourselves so that we might answer our heart's calling to teach yoga with greater integrity, skill and efficacy. Any yoga teacher who maintains a regular ongoing class --week after week, year after year-- may never be acknowledged in some magazine but is, nonetheless, part of the fabric of many people's lives and serves to bear witness to a community, its growth and the individuals who make up that community. And any student who regularly attends classes literally support the teacher financially and also assists in their evolution as a person. It is an important and amazing thing to be in this work as a student and as a teacher. And the pay off is not fame. The pay off is not acknowledgement on a grand scale. The pay off is not a piece of paper you will hang on a wall that says "certified" nor is is a lot of Facebook friends or followers on Twitter.
The pay off is in our relationships. It is in the ways we are encouraged, cajoled and even forced into growth when we teach yoga. The pay off is when one person chooses a deep breath over outrage based on something we taught them in a yoga class. The pay off is in being able to chose kindness over hatred- towards ourself and towards others. The pay off is in watching our friends, colleagues and students shine more and more. The pay off is that we start to know our Light- not in theory, but in actuality, because of this work. And that Knowledge is all the pay off there ever was anyway.
so like that.