This weekend, I had opportunity to share Bikram Yoga with a whole lot of people.
Our town was having their local Art & Wine Festival, and one of my studios had a booth. As much fun as it is handing out Introductory Offer cards to people who look at you and think you’re a nut job (or potentially associated with those evangelical Christians shouting about fearing God down the road….. I think regardless of your religious beliefs, we can all come together and resent the guys who try to shame you into the “right” path).
In any case, I found I was better suited to demonstrating postures than approaching strangers. I do a lot of talking with strangers and breaking the proverbial ice (hello, working in retail), and while I’m pretty good at it I never love doing it. Turns out, though, I do love doing yoga. Even on solid concrete. Even when I end up with bruises on my hips and feet from doing it over and over and over again.
Two of us would demonstrate the postures & breathing exercises (one set of each in a hold-maximum-expression-for-5-seconds, flow-y style), which left others to talk to the passersby. It was much more successful this way.
It was a fun day filled with interesting moments. I’m pretty sure someone recorded a video of us at some point. Also, got lengthily hit on by a drunk guy who didn’t understand personal space (it was a lot more fun watching him try Standing Bow Pulling Pose). All in all, I took 8 AM class, taught 10 AM, then demo’d yoga in the sunshine all afternoon with fellow teachers/friends….what could be better?
My favorite moment, however:
While demonstrating with the studio manager, I saw a woman roll her wheelchair-bound mother up to a spot right in front of us. They stood there, watching the demonstration from the beginning to our final bow & namaste. After, she walked up to us and asked us if we would mind saying namaste to her mother and explaining what it meant. We both approached her, brought our hands into namaskar, bowed, and said “Namaste.” Then Jen explained.
I honor the place in you where the entire Universe resides
I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace
I honor the place in you, where, when you are in that place in you,
and I am in that place in me,
there is only one of us.
As we left her, I could see tears in her eyes.
And that, my friends, is the full beauty of this yoga. It’s not just locking the knee so you get strong, well-defined quadriceps muscles or lose weight–though these things certainly help, they are only side effects. We can forget this sometimes. But really, it’s about finding and sharing the best in ourselves with each other.
And I’m lucky enough that I get paid to do this now. BOO YA.