In my classes over the past couple of weeks, I've been focusing on the theme of noticing and cultivating rhythms — rhythms in the breath and body and rhythms in the seasons and in one’s life. Which made me think about all of the ups and downs I have experienced from week to week, or even day to day, while teaching yoga.
I've been teaching for long enough now to see these ups and downs as part of a rhythm and a process of discovering balance. Once I feel like I've gotten the hang of one aspect of teaching, another deficit happily brings itself to my attention.
Luckily, I think it’s finally starting to click that balance is not characterized by stillness. It’s not something you can plot on a map or nail down with a formula. (Even though I still try.) It's something that is naturally made up of movement and fluctuations — of rhythms. Balance is a constant reworking, reshuffling and re-steadying, characterized by awareness, receptivity and genuinely turning inward.
Just think about the experience of being in Tree pose. The way your muscles engage and release as your weight shifts around the foot you're standing on. The way you can over-think your balance or hold your breath without realizing it. Maybe you even fall out of the pose and then step back into it again, experiencing new subtleties each time. On days where I feel especially unsteady, I like to shift my perspective to realize that if I remain open and receptive, I can stay “balanced” even as I fall out of the pose. (I know. Mind blown, right?)
Trying to find balance can be a real challenge as a new yoga teacher. It’s probably been the most difficult and persistent challenge for me over this past year and a half. Not only are you figuring out how to teach in the broadest sense, you're also figuring out what you want to teach and how you want to teach what you want to teach. Plus you're negotiating how many classes to take on, where to teach, how to make enough money and how to fit teaching into the rest of your life... It's one huge balancing act.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any quick and easy tips for finding balance to leave you with. I do have a favorite quote of mine by Julie Weiland that will hopefully be more satisfying as you experience the changing seasons and ups and downs of your life.
“Change is not only inevitable, but always happening. When you truly embrace this concept of change being constant, the only thing left to do is grow, detach, venture inwards, touch the spirit and find your source — the one responsible for keeping you grounded through the ever-changing seasons of life.”