Why Bother To Notice Ourselves?
As a yoga teacher, I am always striving toward becoming a better teacher. There are various ways of learning how to improve my skill, but the best way I’ve found to become a better teacher is to attend as many different classes as there are available to me.
Even in our small town there are a variety of yoga classes and teachers to select from and every instructor and class is distinct. But every teacher teaches one common theme. No matter the yoga class, no matter the facilitator, there is the constant reminder to pay attention to our own bodies.
One of my yoga teachers exclaims before the beginning of each of her classes, “This is a one room schoolhouse.” What she means by this is that each one of us are at a different level in our learning. Her words remind me that in any given yoga practice, there are beginners who do standing, bending and lunging poses alongside those who twist, invert and bind themselves into more advanced poses. “What matters more than whether or not you can stand on your head,” she says, “is that you show up and practice along with everybody else.”
Not only are there varied levels among yogis, another teacher reminds me that no two yogis have the same physique. “We are all built differently,” she gently points out during the hour-long practice. I glance around the room and notice the long and limbered bodies, and the short and stout. Some of the bodies are in their prime of youth while others are far past prime time. Again, the teacher emphasizes that what matters the most is that we show up and do the asanas in a way that honors our individual and unique bodies.
Finally, another teacher reminds me that yoga is not a competitive sport. We do not enter into any yoga class with the intent to stand in a one legged balancing pose or to hold a downward dog longer than anyone else. “There are no red, white or blue ribbons given out at the end of my class,” she says. “But, hopefully you all will leave the room feeling a little more alive than when you walked in.”
In the final analysis of things, no matter which yoga class I attend, no matter which teacher leads me through the asanas, every instructor reminds me to be a better teacher when she tells me to pay attention to my own body.
Why bother to notice ourselves? No two bodies are the same. Noticing the one we get to live in only helps us live in it to the best of our ability.