After a year of surgeries (four to be exact, two infections, a picc line and living without a hip for 11 weeks), I am finally able to integrate movement back into my life. As an incredibly active person, being sedentary for so long was really tough. My norm was a yoga practice daily as well as some sort of workout — the gym, running, weights, barre, pilates, something outdoors….Frankly, I was addicted to exercise. In many ways, I was a slave to it and would beat myself up if I didn’t follow my plan exactly.
One of the blessings from my terrible health ordeal during the last year is the opportunity to reinvent what it means to “workout” and find movement. Now that I am integrating walks, trips to the gym, stand-up paddleboarding and yoga back into my routine, I am trying to approach it as movement, not something to check off my to do list. Although the little voice in my head often will tell me I should go to the gym as I’ll get a better workout than taking a walk, I am doing my best to listen to my heart when it says “get outside and simply move.”
As yoga teachers, we are often pressured to fill classes. Obviously, at its core level, a yoga class is a business — and we must get people to class to keep the business operating. How does this translate to our students though with the messages we send? Are we good about encouraging folks to listen to their heart about what they are moved to do on a particular day? Sure, we say the magic “listen to your body” message while they are in class, but do we mean it when it pulls them outside on a walk instead of our 6 pm flow class?
Since I don’t own a studio, it is easy for me to look at this scenario from a different vantage point as my livelihood doesn’t depend on it. However, I do think we miss an opportunity as yoga teachers to encourage our students to find movement (or even stillness) in whatever fashion they are called to on a particular day. Taking that approach instead of being a slave to checking off boxes has been life altering for me.