Oh god, we haven’t done Yoga Tuesday in many, many days, internet. Or possibly years.
Side Note – I enjoy how dramatically my blog view went up in the TWO DAYS since NaNoWriMo ended. I GET IT. YOU HATED IT. MWNAH.
Side Side Note – Six people voted on my poll from yesterday and they all voted for different things. So thanks, but still unhelpful, internet.
Typical. Yet I digress.
My body is a train wreck right now. I did yoga for the first time last night in a very long time (hint- three weeks) and today I woke up fairly positive that I may have been hit by a train in my sleep last night. Or a small airplane. Everything hurts, is what I’m getting at, and it’s a little humiliating, given that last year around this time I was super stellar at yoga related activities.
And yeah, I get that the point of yoga is to be calm and stellar and a good person and non-bothered by trivialities like being good at such or whatever (Side Side Side Note – that would be a great t-shirt. I am non-bothered. It’s something else, though, the yoga thing. I am non-attached? I am non-pareil? I am a nonagon? Not that one, probably).
You know what it is? When you’re good at something, you assume that you’re pretty much always going to be good at that thing, even if you take a while off of doing it. Which is, of course, not true at all. You have to keep learning and practicing and upgrading, or you’re going to end up behind the times.
In terms of feeling behind, I’m Grandma with a new iPhone right now. Okay, maybe more like martial artist learning ballet. But still.
Something to work on, I guess.
It turns out that I an not an introvert.
Which, frankly, is startling, because I always thought I was.
However, since the satellite version of my office is (long story short) dark, deserted, and I’m the only one in it, I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I am, most definitely, not an introvert. I like people. I like talking. I like light and activity and friends. Basically everything the satellite office is not, which is why having to work a shift there is like being sent to the 7th circle of Hell.
Theoretically, people (tourists) are supposed to come in to visit me and ask me questions about how awesome Place-I-Live is, but I was in the office today for eight freakin’ hours and I only had three people the whole day.
Frankly, I think the alone time is driving me a little batty.
For instance, I made a friend out of a lamp.
His name is Roscoe Rodriguez Ramez.
Then I tried to make a house for Roscoe Rodriguez out of pamphlets, but it turns out recycle paper is an unreliable building material.
Anyways, being in that office is awful. It’s dark, and it’s lonely, and it smells weird, and people are always walking through without so much as a hello.
But then I went outside, internet, and there was this amazingly beautiful sunset happening.
And it occurred to me that life is like that, internet. Sometimes you get stuck in a gloomy office for a few hours, or days, or months, and you have no idea that there’s a beautiful sunset happening right outside until you can let yourself out the door.
Just a thought.
So I went to one of my mother’s awesome yoga classes last night, internet, and I was (perhaps abstractly) struck with the similarities between folklore and yoga instruction. Admittedly, I was also sweaty and delirious at this point, having been in the car driving from Canada all day and not having really eaten much, but let me lay it down for you and you can tell me what your thoughts are in the comments, k?
As Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists copy; great artists steal”.
Yes, I’m starting this blog with a super pretentious art quote. Deal.
Here’s my thought process:
Yoga teachers are influenced by other yoga teachers who were influenced by other yoga teachers who were influenced by other yoga teachers ad nauseum.
I have, many times, taken and taught elements of other classes I took that I really liked. The teachers in our studio joke about this all the time. We absolutely pass sequences around and teach the same themes and focus on the same poses from time to time, intentionally or not. Since our studio also teaches Barre and Pilates, and many of our teachers teach more than one discipline, there’s a certain amount of fitness cross-contamination happening as well. I taught a Barre abs section in yoga last week. No shame.
The oral storytelling traditions of folklore work in much the same way. A tale gets written, and told and passed down, and as it gets passed down and retold, it changes. Bits and pieces are lost and embellished and warped. Sometimes the story gets better, sometimes it loses something vital, but either way, the storyteller is trying to preserve the original intention.
Anyways, those are my thoughts.
What are yours?
I’m about to get really real for a quick second.
Yoga teachers are a gimmick.
And it’s important that they are.
Most of your students know what yoga is. Your job is not to teach them what yoga is.
Your job is to teach them what your brand of yoga is.
Huh? What? But branding and marketing is inherently evil, you might be thinking. My yoga students come to me to rinse their souls and spirits of the evils of the corporate world, not to imbibe in your PR mumbo-jumbo. It’s just not karmic.
First of all, if you actually talk like that, please check yourself before you wreak yourself. And secondly, yes, you are a brand.
If you have a following as a yoga teacher, be it large or small, your students are coming to you because of you. They like something about your presence in the room. Maybe it’s your sequencing, or your voice, or your music, but it’s all yours. Somewhere along the line as a yoga teacher, you made a conscious or unconscious decision to teach your class how you’re teaching it, and somebody likes that you are doing it that way.
This is called a brand. As Wikipedia coins it, a brand is a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers”. It doesn’t matter if that definition makes you squirm, it’s what you’re doing, and the quicker you own that, the quicker you can pinpoint what you’re doing that works.
And ultimately, that awareness makes you a better teacher.
Does having brand conscientious mean you can’t change and grow and advance as a teacher?
It’s just another tool you can have in your back pocket to use when you need a little help formatting your classes.
What’s your brand, yoga teachers? What helps you teach?
First of all and basically more important than anything else I have to say today:
My coworker brought her dogs into work today.
LOOK AT THESE NUGGETS.
Which pretty much my my entire life worth living.
You know what’s awesome about dogs?
Dogs have astounding personalities. They are way smarter then we give them credit for. They are always in the mood for hugs.
And of course, the best part-
They are perpetually grateful.
I’ve dogsit for enough pooches to be completely assured that they are always grateful.
For. Every. Little. Thing.
And that’s a big part of what yoga is trying to teach us – to be grateful for our bodies and minds and breaths and practices and lives.
But hey, you don’t want me to tell you about what there is to be grateful for.
You want my dogs to do it.
1. Be grateful for hugs.
2. Be grateful for food.
3. Be grateful for naps in the sun.
4. Be grateful for people who let you stick your face into theirs.
5. Be grateful for those who are happy to see you whenever you get home.
6. Be grateful for soft couches.
7. And snuggles.
8. And your family, even if you fight sometimes.
9. Be grateful for the opportunity to laugh at yourself.
10. Mostly, just be grateful about life. Because it’s awesome. And so are you.