You see a sign outside a storefront or an advertisement on the web or in a local paper and you think, “I should really give that yoga stuff a try.” Your best friend’s sister’s cousin swears by it or your doctor, or chiropractor, have told you it might be a good idea. And wasn’t one of your friends going on and on about it a couple of weeks ago? But for some reason, in this moment, you are drawn to it more than at any other time.
The first class is a challenge. The postures, the teacher, the heat – it all feels ridiculously impossible. You sat out half the class wondering why you came. Or even if you made it through each posture you realized the flexibility you lack or the strength that you would need to go further. You walk out thinking, “That was rough. Maybe yoga isn’t for me.”
But then that evening you feel amazing. You never felt so relaxed or open. Your mind never felt so quiet. This is the yoga working. This is when you know you have to go back.
You start a regular practice and actually look forward to the days you know you can take class. This is not because you feel incredible during the class (you are sweaty, hot, and sometimes in pain), but afterwards you feel unstoppable.
A couple of months pass. Friends and family are starting to notice how great you look. It’s not just that you have lost some weight and gained some muscle tone, but your skin even looks clearer and more vibrant. You are also happier. Everyday anxieties and worries seem to roll off of your back and you suddenly have a confidence that is noticeable and enviable.
People start asking you what you are doing differently. You tell them about the yoga classes you are taking. In fact, you can’t stop talking about the yoga classes you are taking. Somehow, in just a few short months it has become part of who you are.
You have more energy. This is when you find an organization you always wanted to volunteer for, you start spending more time with your family, you become more effective at work, or you have true quality time with your friends. Smiling at others and performing random acts of kindness is part of your daily routine. You are starting to think about others because you are no longer concerned solely with yourself. You have already taken care of yourself at the yoga studio.
The friends and family that surround you day after day start thinking about taking a yoga class based on the results that you have had. They now are going through their first classes and are also starting a regular practice. You are directly affecting your community just by taking a yoga class a couple of times a week.
Your practice is getting stronger and is an inspiration to those that practice with you and those that teach you. You have become a teacher through example.
Some yoga practitioners have an itch to share the yoga on a broader scale. Their thoughts are drawn to daydreaming about attending a teacher training session. Eventually they make the choice to go. They are challenged on new levels but have come to a point where they can’t imagine not leading a class and find the sacrifices required to become a teacher completely worth it.
They come home and teach. Watching others discover the yoga and benefits it has on their lives has become thrilling and engaging. They lend their own strengths and talents to each class to assist their students through the process. As they teach they continue on their own path of self-discovery. The more they learn, the more they can share with others.
Some of these teachers dream of opening their own studio. Not to be in charge, but to directly affect an entire community that may not know about the yoga yet. They find a location to open a studio. These studio owners put signs outside their storefront and advertise on the web or in the local paper to help others find the yoga.
That’s when someone sees it and thinks, “I should really give that yoga stuff a try….”
Go to class. Change your body. Change your mind. Change the world.
Originally posted to viewsfromthepodium.com on April 30, 2013