Teaching Yoga

Over the weekend I fell more in love with yoga.

I woke up early and headed to the beach to teach a self-love flow. It was an EcoFitYogi event that I created on Facebook, a small gathering of women. The focus was to awaken the mind and body connect and to explore the power of movement as the lakes waves poured in. The event started at 7:30am till 8:30am, I arrived early to set up my mat and stretch out. When 7:30 arrived then 7:45, It dawned on me that no one was coming. I knew it was the universe testing my inner strength, I had the choice to cry and leave or stay- I decided to stay. I sat on my mat with my Aquamarine mala in my hand as I stared out at the water. The waves billowed and drummed against the sandy shore. The sunrise reflected off the foamy edges of the waves as I breathed in the fresh air. On my walk home, my sandy may in hand, I watched the autumn leaved tumble past my feet. I didn’t feel sad as I walked home, I felt empowered to keep going.

In the late afternoon, my father and sisters picked me up and drove me to my second event at Shine Yoga in Batavia. I was to teach a Generation Strong class for young girls, the topic was inner strength. I arrived at the studio at 3pm and was greeted by Alexa. She was a kind woman with a smile that welcomed me in. Alexa helped me prep for the arrival of the girls by getting forms and the sign in sheet ready. We had some time before the young girls arrived, so we chose to make a cup of tea and chat.  Alexa shared his wisdom on yoga, motherhood, and life. It was an enlightening conversation that inspired me to keep on my yogi journey. It was a blessing to meet her and talk over steaming tea and afternoon sunlight.

The girls arrived soon after and we began to sign them in. Many were shy at first and others were filled with energy. They began venturing into the yoga space and getting their mats set up as Alexa and I finished up. When I entered the space I could feeling the youthful energy of the girls misting the room in a positive light. I sat in the front and began to introduce myself and then let the girls do the same. I gave them each a rose quartz crystal, allowing them to always stay connected to their heart center. They ranged from 5th-8thgrade. As my ice breaker I asked, what do you hate aboutschool? Many of the girls talked about homework, bullies, and pressure to get good grades. We also talked about the burden to look a certain way, focusing on school rather than boys, and dealing with stress. The girls opened up to me so easily because I knew how they felt. I told them my struggle with bullies, eating disorders, and depression. I understood the pressure to be a certain way and live up to the standards set by teachers, parents, and classmates.

Once we finished our discussion we began our yoga flow. We focused on building inner strength by doing warrior poses, tree pose, and arrow arms. Our focus was to ignite the flame within their bellies, to cultivate unbreakable determination. We ended with a mediation, I had nature sounds playing, and they visualized themselves as trees. Their roots deep in the earth, their trunk strong in the present moment, and their branches reaching for the sky (their goals). Through breath and stillness, they sat up in lotus pose and repeated the EFY mantra: I See Love, I Speak Love, I Feel Love, I Am Love.

When we finished the class, and the girls were so mellow that it looked like they woke up from a long nap. Some of the girls hugged each other and took the time to savor the moment. I was very happy to have the girls being so connected to themselves and each other. The girls asked me if they could do the meditation anytime and I told them to do it when they need to find peace- they can be in bed, outside, or even at school. The girls told me they are excited for the next class in November and they said the class left them happy and calm. I gave the girls some hugs and waved goodbye as their parents came to pick them up. When the last two girls left I closed the studio down, locking the door I felt this sense of accomplishment and pride. I left knowing this is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

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