Teaching versus Practicing

Teaching yoga to young children is completely different from developing my own yoga practice.  While the poses are the same, the context and experience is radically different. In my kids classes, yoga is more like PLAY.  Today we played “Yogi Says”, where each child got to be YOGI and choose a yoga pose for the class to do together.   I used colorful photo cards of animals and other nature poses that the children are now familiar with.  It was amazing to watch them jump right into the yoga poses.

After a very full day of teaching and tutoring, I was feeling a bit anxious about what I had to do this week (and the anticipation of starting my training in a couple of days).  I popped in one of my favorite yoga videos by Shiva Rea and got on the mat.  As often happens when anxiety creeps in, I could feel myself trying to catch my breath. Within a few minutes of Pranayama, I was breathing more deeply and feeling more relaxed.   I became fully aware of my breathing, my body and the thoughts going through my head.  Thinking back on my day of teaching, I wondered what it would be like, if I just “played” yoga, rather than try to get it “right”.

After a 30 minute practice, I lay in bed in Savasana and, for the first time, noticed the energy vibrating inside me.  I was charged like a battery and just resting in relaxation was an exercise in stillness.  I have never been so in tune with my body’s internal and external radar.  This is what yoga is awakening in me more and more, the connection between the internal (mind) and external (body) and beyond (spirit).