Wa Yo Yogi

Leanne Kitteridge's adventures in Yoga

Nazei…why? November 14, 2007

Filed under: Anusara,Japan,teaching yoga,travel yoga,yoga — shibuiyoga @ 11:15 am
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The game is up…John asked for my blog address. Well John, if you are reading this I fought to edit it for your eyes. The Japanese call this hone and tatemaeHone– inside face and tatemae-outside face. Everybody gets my hone on my blog- the real me- silliness and all.     

I can’t believe we are half way though training. It seems to be flying by. By the time I look at my watch it is already 4:30 in the afternoon and we started at 9:00. We have a little over an hour for lunch break and then we go back again. The days are long but we seem to be infused by the desire to learn as much as we can in this short week. The dedication, the commitment, the studentship is unsurpassed. In Sanskrit this is called adikara. Christina Sell, my mentor teacher,  was vehement that the most important thing in training was studentship and she is a great example. She is an amazing teacher and practitioner but she is also an incredible student. She is continually studying, practicing, pushing herself to learn more. She is who I want to emulate as a student.

Today we used the theme of commitment. Commitment to be the best teacher we can be. It was interesting to see how my mind processed the theme throughout the day. As I thought about balancing the theme with a contrast that was soft I started to think ” Why?” “Nazei?” Why do I want to be an Anusara yoga teacher- why do I want to be the best. For fame..fortune?? That made me laugh. Most yoga teachers will tell you it sure isn’t for the money- most yoga teachers I know just get by. Then of course John- mind reader he is- asked us to ask “why?” I thought about it for the rest of the afternoon. I came up with one clear answer- I want to share.

Yoga has done so much for me and my family. I think I notice it more in my husband then myself- not saying that I haven’t changed too- but it is easier to look at others.  My girlfriend from childhood, Mindy, said to me “Yoga as changed you…you are a much better listener now.” Wow. Really? That was big to me. She has known me since I was three years old and yet it took yoga to make me a better listener- and hopefully now a better friend. ( Love to you Mindo!)

Every class I teach I try to teach from something that has happened to me – my own experience. I struggle often but other days I hit that very strong center of feeling and the words just come. One of my dear students has been diagnosed with colon cancer. She is one of the most vibrant, joyful people I know. She is 6 feet tall, 60 years old and always has perfect hair and makeup. She does headstand and giggles infectiously. She lights up the class… and the studio has seemed a little darker in her absence.

 I went to go visit her the other day before she started chemo. In all her pain and struggle, all she kept doing was thanking me for teaching her. For accepting her stiff body and for teaching her that yoga was more than postures. To her it was a way to practice opening her heart and continuing to learn. She used things I had said in her job as a motivational speaker. She said she was wary when I took over from another teacher. He was very gentle and soft. I demanded more of them- physically and mentally. I asked them to think about what they were doing. It scared her at first, but then she realized that what I was teaching was so much richer then her previous experience. Yoga moved off the mat and into her daily life- and for that she was so grateful. Yoga is how she was going to cope with having cancer.

I was blown away. I had no words.

I eventually said, ” It wasn’t me…I didn’t do it…the yoga did it.”

She said, “Maybe…but you are a hell of a messenger.”

That is why I am committed to being the best teacher. I want to be a hell of a messenger.


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