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Om Yoga Blog
Om Yoga Blog
Experience Om Yoga and be encouraged to deepen the awareness of the body, mind and spirit bringing forth your highest qualities. Be Inspired to live daily in a way that promotes peace, mindfulness, humility and growth.
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3:28 am

Finding my Guru at Starbucks

One of the benefits of being a yoga teacher is having a captive audience to share your stories with. When something happens in my daily life that teaches or affirms a yogic lesson, my first thought is always “I can’t wait to share that with my yogis!” And of course I like to get as much mileage as possible out of a good story, so you may have already heard this one (and it’s absolutely true – my girlfriend Ada says I should write a book entitled “You Can’t Make This Sh-t Up,” but that’s another story….).

One Sunday on the way to teach Karma class benefitting the Children’s Attention Home, I stopped into Starbucks for my standard “venti passion tea lemonade, 3 pumps classic one pump raspberry, light ice please.” The place was very busy, and as I stood in line with my yoga mat in tow I “rehearsed” in my head the things I wanted to say about Karma before class. In one context, Karma is simply the selfless giving of your energy to another. That energy can take many forms: money or material resources, service or time, prayer or mantra, for example. I planned to explain that a really nice act of Karma is dedicating your asana practice to someone who needs it – maybe to the children of the Children’s Attention Home, maybe to someone else. Just as I was thinking about this, an older gentleman came up to me. He wore a military veterans baseball cap, walked with a cane, and struggled a bit to get to me. When I smiled at him he nodded to my mat, and said “Would you do me a favor? When you go to your Pilates class today, how about doing some Pilates for me?” I said “Actually I’m practicing yoga today, but I would love to practice for you – what’s your name?” “I’m Dave,” he said. “You got it, Dave. I’m Ann, and it’s so nice to meet you. When I’m on my mat today, I’m going to be thinking about you and practicing yoga for you – it will be an honor.”

On the outside, Dave certainly didn’t look like your typical yoga guru, but in just those few moments, he taught me so much about being present, being thankful, having perspective, and about connection. A great yogi, Desikachar, said, “yoga exists in the world because everything is linked.” Everything is connected. We speak a lot about connection in yoga. The very word, "yoga," means connection or union. We connect body, mind, and spirit. We connect movement with breath. And ultimately we find that inner peace, that place within where we connect with the universe, our light, our source. How often have you experienced those wonderful little coincidences? A friend calls just when you were thinking of them, or you make a new friend at Starbucks at the exact perfect time. Yoga teaches that these things we call coincidences aren’t chance happenings at all, but proof of the profound connection we all share. Judith Lasater says “Wisdom is the ability to see the connection of all things. Our connection with the universe has existed, exists now, and will always exist. When we look inside ourselves for this connection, we will always find it. We are a reflection of it. When we can live with a deep faith in our connection to all that is, we fear less, want less and need less.” When you make yoga a part of your daily life on and off your mat, you can’t help become more aware, more sensitive to this beautiful connection. We are all connected by the light and love that dwells within each of us. And we honor that connection by saying to each other…Namaste. 


4:13 pm

Lessons from the Mat

Today I had a wonderful conversation with my new friend, boss, and fellow yoga instructor Maria about some things we are learning as we practice yoga and live life. One of the things I came away with is how important it is as a teacher, student, and person to be vulnerable. Often that word in our culture is looked down on and as a quality it really isn’t something many people are going after. However, there is something so powerful and beautiful about vulnerability. As a yoga teacher I can only teach my students what I know. To try and teach beyond my understanding and knowledge would not be wise. For this reason one of my main goals is to be as transparent and vulnerable about my own experience and practice as possible. One of the things I am learning a lot about right now is how to be patient and relinquish my ideas about how things should be. For the last three months I have been battling a hamstring injury and a shoulder injury. Both of these things have been very frustrating and will take time and rest to heal. I’m pretty sure these injuries probably would have healed by now if I had just put aside my ego and practiced the principle of non harm by resting, but instead I kept pushing through it. This is a big problem. You see, the thing is… I am a yoga teacher. Yoga is supposed to heal not hurt and I’m supposed to know everything and have this crazy amazing practice and never do anything incorrectly. Reality check… I am such a baby when it comes to what I know about teaching, practicing yoga and living life. My teacher once told me to “never despise your injures for they will teach you more than anything else in your practice.” I can honestly say this is the truth and I feel that as a result of these injuries I am becoming a better student and a more effective teacher. It may take a lifetime to perfect some yoga poses and you may have some setbacks along the way, but the benefits of practicing far outweigh any setback. Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk once wrote, “We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners.” Although he was referring to one’s prayer and meditation life, I think there is such a truth within this quote that translates into any area of life. You can’t learn anything new if you think you know it all. Continuing to think of yourself as a beginner or novice requires both humility and vulnerability. If you live your life in this manner you truly will be amazed at how the simplicity of this disposition can bring joy and a lightness to whatever it is that you do. This comes as a direct result of not being preoccupied or overly concerned with standards and/or expectations. So next time you roll out your mat, keep it simple and make it your intention to just be a beginner. Leave the ego, don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy the process of growing. What’s the worst that could happen? You might learn something new and actually have a really good time doing it! Dar Short