Yoga Teacher: "Oh, I'm a Yoga teacher."
Stranger: "Man, I should really do yoga. I can't even touch my toes!"
Yoga Teacher: ""You know, touching your toes doesn't really matter. Yoga is much more than that, you should take class with me and see!"
Stranger: "Yeah, I have heard yoga can help with anxiety. And I really want to have toned arms like yours."
Yoga teachers, sound familiar? No matter how many times I have this conversation I struggle to convey to the stranger why they should try yoga. This shouldn't be hard, right? There are so many great reasons to take yoga! It calms your mind, it makes you flexible, it tones your arms and butt - it transforms you! To be honest, when I say those reasons out loud it sounds flat, superficial and in a way, dishonest. Of course, it's not a lie, certain kinds of yoga will reduce anxiety, improve flexibility and tone your arms and butt. But it feels untruthful because those are not the reasons I practice yoga now.
I started to practice yoga because I wanted to keep my ballet dancer body after I quit dancing. I kept practicing yoga because it soothed my mind and helped me form a positive outlook on life. I practice yoga now because it has changed me in every possible way. Yoga has informed who I hang out with, what I eat, my career choices, how I spend money, what time I go to bed, what I read, where I travel and how I interact with people. But if I told people that, it would freak them out. Even people who like change are aghast at the idea of their values, morals and daily life being challenged.
Luckily, yoga works in sneaky ways and changes you slowly. In the words of Bobby Stuckey, award winning restauranteur and Master Sommelier, yoga applies "constant gentle pressure" which results in you changing a little bit every day. It's a subtle enough process that you can't put your finger on the day you transitioned from doing yoga to living yoga. Perhaps that is because it's a practice. You will never fully arrive and you can always learn more.
It's difficult to describe the impact yoga can have on one's life in a single blog. So, the Colorado School of Yoga has curated several posts from alumni being released throughout March and April 2016 that together paint a larger picture about Yoga and how it impacts your life, beyond the obvious. Like the Sistine Chapel, each of these scenes are about individuals discovering truth and meaning and are part of a greater painting that reveals the depth and beauty of Yoga.
The story telling will begin Monday March 21st, 2016. Blogs will be announced on Facebook, please share, comment and tell us your stories!
by Caitlin Rose Kenney, CSOY Faculty and Development Director, Yoga Teacher in Boulder & Denver, CO
Learn more at www.caitlinrosekenney.com