Daily lesson from February 24, 2013 (Teach the teacher):
Letting go of the handrails…
Back in my gym-rat days, I used to snicker at the sorry souls hanging on for dear life to the Stairmaster handrails. Not exactly mastering stairs. More like balancing the latest crumpled version of People magazine over the electronic progress panel (Brad Pitt’s latest meanderings more important than cardio output stats) and exerting the minimum amount butt and thigh effort needed to keep from tumbling backward.
It’s been at least a decade since I’ve climbed stairs to nowhere, or lifted a dumbbell (I prefer a smart chatturanga over a dumb bicep curl, frankly). But as I stepped into a packed house of yogis awaiting my teaching debut at a brand new studio opening this morning, I thought about those handrails. I wanted them. With 45 eager yogis mere inches apart from each other staring back at me, I desperately reached for my own version of handrails – my loyal, well-loved, broken-in, avocado green Manduka mat.
But today, it was either my mat, or another student in the room. So in the corner my mat went, rolled up and taking its own happy svasana as I prepared to fly solo.
For me, this was a huge first. You see, as yoga teachers, we use several tools to guide our students through practice. One of those tools is our mats. Our mats allow us to demonstrate a pose when we can’t find a way to clearly communicate our next instruction. Without a mat, the next best thing is a few precious empty floorboards between students to demo.
But not today. No mat. No floor space. Just verbal cues. Personality. Humor. And an absolutely delicious opportunity to leave my handrails behind. Talk about growth. I hope every yoga teacher gets the opportunity to toss the mat aside and teach from the heart.
So next time you reach for your handrails, whatever version they come in, consider letting go. And allowing your heart to shine through.
Namaste and see you in class.