Sometime in the mid-1960s Jack LaLanne was inspiring anyone who would listen to follow calisthenics as a physical conditioning program. Gail, the 10 year-old, followed his televised program of isotonic strength routines, a program that included shoulder stand sequence and standing / seated forward folds. So began my acquaintance with yoga.
Yes, as an adult, I have a 200-hour yoga training program certification, but what else do I do? I am an arts youth educator, performing musician as well as a yoga teacher of adults and youth. Working in paid and volunteer capacities throughout my adulthood, I have always had a special place in my heart for adult learners – for their stories and for their desire for a better quality of life – in the arts, in social justice initiatives, through movement, and in thoughtful reflection.
Learning is continuous. Each yoga practice is a new awareness of body, thought, and heart. The ways in which I sustain my current yoga practice are similar to how I maintain my paid / volunteer activities outside of asana practice — continuous learning through observing other teachers and leaders in their fields; attending workshops and retreats; intensive practice; personal reflective writing; formal learning, such as completion of a Masters degree in Lifelong Learning.
Why teach yoga? Because it is part of “giving back”, part of the culture of service, compassion, and gratitude with which I was raised. Yoga practice is just like playing a string instrument. You will always have new challenges, and you can always choose to adapt your practice to suit what you can handle at the moment. Like music making, it helps to have guides along the way. I have asked for, and received help in developing my current yoga practice. It is my wish to offer that kind of help as class participants discover and continue their own practice path.
Shanti, shanti – Peace, peace