Be exactly who you are on and off the mat


I just am wrapping up a two year stint as co-president of the PTA for the school district my children attend. I am looking forward to having more time and space in my mind and in my life; a chance to get back to this blog and to be even more connected to my teaching. I got a beautiful card from my co-president last week; in it she wrote that I should always be myself. Be who I am. That is the most amazing compliment that someone can give– to remind us that being who we are is enough. That we are all we need to be.

So on our mats last week, it was all about us. There was less focus on how the poses looked– I cued alignment from a safety standpoint but minimal direction  other than that. Instead, I asked my students to make the practice their own. I reminded them that what you have on your mat is enough and to be exactly who you are.

We flowed and breathed but mostly we celebrated; celebrated the quieting of the inner critic, celebrated the reminder that our bodies and our practice on the mat are enough and celebrated that who we are off the mat is all we need to be. When we let go of expectations of what we are “supposed” to look like on our mats and instead worked from the inside out  to create what felt right, it fosters acceptance and from there…freedom (like my handstand photo above).

We often get what we need at just the right moment–the universe provides if we are accepting. In this time of transition for me, not just in the season and the schedule but in a shifting of priorities and stepping back from a huge responsibility, I was hearing my inner critic; I was questioning what was next.  Then came the reminder at just the perfect moment to always be myself–that I am enough.

As we began to wind down the Asana practice,  I shared a gentle reminder about what this practice can offer; the lengthening and strengthening  of the body allows us to become stronger and lighter at the same time. Just as acceptance and freedom in the mind can give us that same strength and lightness off the mat.

As we sat in final meditation together, we sat with full acceptance of ourselves. It is truly a gift to live with the belief that being yourself is enough. I was so incredibly thankful for the reminder and I felt lucky to be able to share that gift with my students. As we practice acceptance of who we are both in our practice and beyond, what we find is gratitude for both. Namaste.