For me the best part of teaching yoga is witnessing the transformative experiences that students encounter during their practice. Sometimes as a teacher you watch your students arrive feeling rushed and frazzled as they make their way onto their mats. By the end of their practice these same students leave feeling calm and restored. Other times students might feel uplifted or reenergized even though they came to their mats feeling down or low. While we may not always know what we need from our practice, and we certainly cannot control the outcome, the transformative nature of yoga can leave an impact on us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
The first time I recall having such an experience I was under the trees of Algonquin Park. I was in high school and I was fortunate enough to be one in a group of students in an outdoor education program called Geoventure. We were canoe tripping in Algonquin and staying at an island site on Lake Louisa. One day we took a break from the paddling, water games and campfire sign alongs to get a little more quiet. Actually, we got real quiet. Laying on our backs in a large circle, we practiced stillness and silence while gazing up at the trees surrounding us. I can’t recall today what Mr. Minielly said or how he guided us through that practice of mindfulness, but the feeling that it left me with is one I remember with absolute clarity today.
“The experience left me feeling a deep sense of peace and calm. It’s a feeling that comes back to me today when I practice yoga.”
Taking that time under the trees I remember feeling a sense of wonder thinking about my connection to the land and those trees. The experience left me feeling a deep sense of peace and calm. It’s a feeling that comes back to me today when I practice yoga.
At the time I didn’t understand that I was practicing mindfulness. In fact, my journey to a daily practice took another twenty years to develop and it’s one that I continue to work towards today. That experience all those years ago, however, had left its impact. I had felt it and deep down I knew I could return.
Today I feel beyond blessed that my journey has lead me to a place where as a teacher I observe students experiencing the healing effects of their practice. I am humbled by the vastness of what I have yet to learn and experience for myself and I am grateful to all of my teachers who inspire me to continue on this journey.
With much love,