This week I learned that a yoga student that attended my class regularly passed away suddenly. She was a perfectly happy, health woman one day and dead the next. I've been thinking a lot about her this week. I've been thinking about all the students that I've met over the last few years.
When I began teaching yoga I had this crazy idea that I would have some positive impact in the lives of the people I was teaching. I was going to show them the way to enlightenment. What I didn't expect was just how much I would learn from the students. I never gave much thought to how they would impact me back then. Now I know that they have just as much if not more to teach me.
On Tuesday evening I shared the sad news of Pam's passing with the other students. It was the hardest class I've had to teach. How do I take such sad news and use it as a bhavana to inspire a yoga class? By God's grace we made it through the class. The bhavana was staying present and savoring each moment with an open heart. This is one of the lessons I learned from Pam. Some days she would show up for class and apologize for missing class the week before saying that she was enjoying the time with her granddaughter. Although yoga was important to her she knew that savoring each moment with her loved ones was just as important. She also had an incredibly open heart. She was so sweet and open to sharing her journey of self-discovery with the others in class.
Staying present and keeping an open heart is, I believe, also important to remember when I'm teaching a yoga class. Staying present helps me to support the students in their practice and keeping an open heart helps me to connect with the people who show up for class. This connection with the students is where the real learning and teaching happens. It happens in a very fluid, organic way, this exchange of energy, this exchange of knowledge. It's a reciprocal exchange and it's a beautiful thing!
The other thing I've been thinking about a lot is that life is short. We have no guarantee of tomorrow.
With this in mind, how do we want to spend this moment? Do we want to dwell on the negative? Thinking about all the things in our lives that aren't working. Or do we want to count our blessings?
With an open heart, be present in the moment and witness the grace of the Divine in your life. One minute you are the teacher and the next you are the student. Learning and teaching, teaching and learning.