Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Friday, August 30, 2013

My guru, Jake

So last week at dinner my son, Jake (who's 10yrs old), was telling his sister's boyfriend about meditation. He said "At night, before bed, I chant the mantra to the moon my mom gave me and it gives me a great night sleep." How fabulous is that?!

This is the same kid who was teaching the other kids at daycare yoga postures. One day, when he was 4 yrs old, I showed up at the daycare after work. The teacher stopped me at the door. She told me that he had all the kids sitting in a circle and he was in the middle teaching them how to do yoga.

Why am telling you these stories? Well, mostly because I'm a proud momma but also because I have come to learn a very valuable lesson from Jake. It's most effective to lead by example. What's more important than what you say is how you live. The important thing to remember is that there's no better teacher than experience.

Jake didn't need me to tell him that using mantra would give him a great night sleep. He tried it and he discovered for himself the effects of using the mantra. Now he knows it to be true for himself.

He is a regular kid, he gets fresh and cranky and makes me crazy but sometimes there are little glimpses of the incredibly wonderful yogi he's going to be. Jake's advise to Tayler's boyfriend... "You should try it"

Perhaps you'd like to try it for yourself too. Make a commitment to sit for meditation for 20 minutes every day. Chant a mantra. I'm using the Gayatri mantra. You can use the mantra to the moon Jake is using, OM SOM SOMAYA NAMAHA. Chose one and stick to it for at least 30 days.

(If you are interested in formal meditation instruction I can certainly help you with that. Send me an email with your contact info. At

Try it and see if you too have a great night sleep. There is no better teacher than experience.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The student is ready.....

I haven't taken a regular group yoga class in well over a year. I spent a lot of time being sad about the loss of my support system but then I was over it. Until this morning. I woke up today feeling the loss again. It's so weird how emotions sort of sneak up on you sometimes.

Although I've had a personal practice for many years, my regular yoga class always supported my personal practice. Up until about a year and half ago I attended at least 2 classes a week for the better part of 19 years. It was a huge part of my life to say the least.

The past year and half has been very challenging for me not only as a yoga student but also as a yoga teacher. There have been moments when I felt completely dis-enchanted with yoga. I've come to realize that what I'm disenchanted with is modern day, Americanized yoga. What I'm mourning, is the loss of the support system, the sense of community and the inspiration that I found in having a teacher.

I have given up hope that my teacher will come to his senses and return to his post as my teacher. I accepted the fact that the universe was giving me an opportunity to see that I can stand on my own two feet. My home practice is the real support system and is the place where I am most connected to the source of inspiration. I can honestly say that is true.

But today....I'm missing the rest of it.

Sharing my passion for yoga with others is almost as rewarding as my role as a mother. There's no doubt that in my work as a yoga teacher I feel the Grace of the Divine working through me. It's my role as a student of yoga that keeps the channel open to receive the flow of God's Grace.

Today, it's the student that is longing for nourishment.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The business of yoga

I've been thinking a lot about this business of being a yogi in modern times. There are unique challenges that we face today. For example, how do you promote yourself as a teacher and get students in the class without inflating your ego?

You prepare the lesson plan for the class/workshop, you select the perfect music to accompany your sequence, you light the candles and make the room inviting and then.... No one shows up. There's no doubt that it's disappointing. How do you let go of the expections and practice acceptance then?

It's a strange new world we're living in. Yoga on facebook is the perfect example. Yes, I do see the irony here as most of you are reading this post from my facebook link. Are you promoting your yoga business or inflating your ego when you post hundreds of pictures of yourself "doing yoga"? Is yoga something you do or is it a state of being?

The thought that keeps coming back to me is that yoga is not suppose to be a business. It was never intended to be a way to make a living. In there lies the problem (in my humble opinion).

Don't get me wrong; I daydream about quitting my day job and teaching yoga full time too. I dare you to find a yoga teacher who hasn't. Unfortunately, as I see it, if I had to depend on yoga teaching to pay my mortgage I would have to have a different approach to self-promotion. I would have no choice but to engage my ego more.

I appreciate the fact that some folks have chosen to walk this fine line of teaching yoga to make a living and living the yoga lifestyle. My feeling is that if we can all remember that living our yoga is the foundation we will have a better chance at growing the yoga business. The first lesson in yoga teacher training is only teach what you know. It saddens me to see how many teachers teach material that they haven't thoroughly studied and applied in their own lives.

On the flip side of that is that yoga teacher training programs should require students take continuing education classes on the topic of ethics in yoga. You would think that most of it is common sense stuff but my experience has been that reminders are needed.

Back to Facebook, if your friends are also yoga teachers is it appropriate to promote yourself on their facebook page? When all your friends are also yoga teachers how do you deal with envy among your peers? What if you are offered a teaching position that would pay you double what you make teaching other classes but you're asked to teach something you don't know intimately? Do you fake it? And if so, is that really teaching yoga? How do you build self-confidence without becoming self-absorbed?

It seems to me that the scales have been tipped and we now have more teachers than students. That's because there's this misconception that once you've completed a 200hr yoga teacher training program you suddenly become a teacher and you forget that you are still a student. The real learning begins after graduation. The learning up till that point has only been superficial. It's up to the student to deepen their study of yoga by actually practicing what was learned.

The need for real teachers is stronger than ever. A true teacher would hold the pin that would pop our inflated ego when it's getting out of control. A true teacher would offer us an example of right living. A true teacher would hold the light for us when we are lost in the dark.

Om Shri Gurubhyo Namaha!!