Real people doing real yoga.....

One night I was teaching a yoga class at a local community center, it was something I had done every week for more than 5 years, but that night was different. There was a moment during the class when I was actually witnessing yoga happening. As a student, I can feel when I find the perfect balance between effort and comfort. As a teacher, I have the privilege of witnessing that happen for the students in class.

That night, I was struck by the beauty of what I was witnessing. I wasn't watching a "yoga model" pose for a photo shoot. I wasn't watching someone in a perfectly aligned yoga posture. These folks come to class every week. They show up not in $98 yoga pants, not carrying designer yoga mats. They don't come to impress anyone. They come in their sweat pants and old t-shirts. They come after a long day at work, a long day of caring for their families. Some come to the mat with physical limitations. They roll out their ordinary mats and they practice ordinary yoga. It was during an ordinary practice that I witnessed something extra-ordinary.

There was a moment when I could see that the student was in the perfect posture for them. That perfect balance of effort and comfort was found. The state of yoga had been achieved. I wished I had a camera. I found myself wishing that the students could see themselves through my eyes. I wanted them to see what I was seeing. I wanted to capture that moment so that I could show them just how beautiful they were.

These were the real faces of yoga. These ordinary people doing their ordinary yoga was extra-ordinarily beautiful. I remind the students that yoga is not about the external pose but how they feel in the pose. The beauty is that when they feel blissful in the pose it shows externally.

Before each class that I teach, I pause and acknowledge that I am only the tour guide on this yoga adventure. What unfolds on the ordinary yoga mat is a very organic process. We can't force yoga to happen. But when it does....well, it's like the light of a thousand suns. It's extra-ordinary and it happens whether you are a yoga model in $98 yoga pants in perfect alignment or an ordinary person wearing $10 sweat pants and ratty old t-shirt, nursing an injury. When you find that perfect balance of effort and comfort for yourself, in that moment yoga happens and its BEAUTIFUL!

I want to thank the folks that show up on the mat, just as they are, with open minds and hearts. I also want to thank my teachers for being the tour guides on my own yoga adventure. My prayer is that we all see our own beauty and the beauty around us always.


  1. Man, I totally agree. It's nice when we can see yoga doing what yoga is meant to do for each person instead of seeking the perfect pose for the cover of Yoga Journal.

    By the way, I meant to email you about a book I saw in NY and finally purchased on Tuesday. It's called The Thousand Names of the Divine Mother by Sri Lalita Sahasranama. I remember seeing the names repeated on a video at Amma's darshan, and I thought they were so beautiful. After I bought the book, I saw that it was dedicated to Amma--cool.

  2. Susan, sounds like a great book. I'll have to add it to my wish list.


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