It was recently suggested to a group of yoga teachers I was with that it is our calling to help liberate others. Many are called. They become yoga teachers and scholars, yoga nidra facilitators, Reiki masters, counselors, ministers and leaders of all sorts. But when you are told this and it hits your gut with such a fierceness that it brings tears to your eyes, you know you are on the right track.
Let me clarify. The liberation spoken of is from our preconceived notions about ourselves, our negative self talk, our victimhood. And while I believe no one can really free another, I know it is possible to help lift the veil of illusion just enough for someone to see their own perfection. I have seen it over and over again.
The rub for me has been a disconnect. I get it. Intellectually. My mind loves this stuff, it nods vigorously in agreement. Then it sets about to disprove it or pick it apart to try to really understand it. To get it. There must be more. It creates problems out of this one principle just so it can solve them. And when it can’t solve them it takes me to the couch with a bag of potato chips and the remote. There must be a hole in the theory. We’ll figure it out from here.
I get it. And then I forget it.
I love to teach. Almost anything. But I especially love to teach yoga and yoga nidra. I love the way people look after a class. They have accessed something so deep that most of them aren’t able to articulate it. But they know where they got it so they come back. It’s not me. I didn’t do this for them, I just held the space for them to explore. They allowed themselves to drop into that place where the veil got a little more transparent.
This is all beautiful. But I have been moving away from teaching lately preferring instead to work on my art. A fine choice. I love creating art; painting, photographing, cut paper designs, jewelry, coloring, it doesn’t matter, I love it all. The problem lies in the reason behind the shift from teaching to art.
I wasn’t even really aware why or what that was until this past weekend. Several very skilled teachers were able to help me with that veil thing. The disconnect for me is this: How can I teach yoga and yoga nidra if I’m not practicing it? Up to now I always thought that meant physically getting on my mat striking a couple of poses then lying in savasana for yoga nidra. Part of it. Maybe.
What I got while I was salsa walking on the treadmill to Gypsy Kings yesterday was this: How can I teach liberation, how can I help free others when I am still in a cage imprisoned by my own negative self talk? By my own lack of respect for the vehicle, the physical form that I was given? By the act of self-flagellation on an energetic level?
I have gotten this concept before. It’s an old, worn idiom: Practice what you preach. But now? I. Get. It.
I do not have to be a size 2 to teach yoga. I do not have to be pious to help others find peace. I do not have to juice and starve myself to help others get healthy. BUT, for me, when I am physically practicing yoga and yoga nidra; when I am at the gym early in the morning revving my metabolism and shining my sparkle; when I am eating clean; I FEEL free. I am an expression of that which I am teaching. I am a clear channel. And people get it faster. They don’t have to work as hard.
So in the first day of this new challenge, this ginormous truth has been revealed to me. My goal, yes goal, is to dissolve the cage by being what I am teaching. It is a prison of my own construction so there is no need to look outside of myself. The journey is inward.