Yesterday I had a lot to work out on my mat...A LOT to work out. When I woke up my first thought was"Ugh- I don't have it in me to teach....not today. Too much." I moved through my usual morning routines in a haze...get dressed, get Alden dressed, unload the dishwasher, pack lunch, make breakfast, feed dog, start car.... at 8:40 I found myself at the studio- my sweet Shambhala- welcoming as always. This morning though I didn't feel my usual Christmas morning thrill when I walked in and smelled the familiar, sweet smell of incense. The exhaustion was mounting "Oh I can't do this today...any day but today- maybe no one will come and I can practice a bit and go home.... Hide." Of course though as usual the universe had other plans, and people came.My current regulars, and then a few student that used to be regulars but hadn't been to my class in a while. "Oh Shit....this has to be a good class- what am I going to do?...oh so tired..too much..can't do this..." The teacher mode kicks in and I start my class- set intention-check. Om-check. Invocation-check. Dharma Talk-check. Then..... nothing... it all shut off. I just couldn't explain the alignment points of the feet in Tadasana one more time. I was done. So I did something that my semi control freak personality never did...I threw alignment out the window. I was not going to teach....I was going to guide perhaps, but not TEACH. I needed to practice right then. I had to. I couldn't do anything else. It was as primal, real, needed to me as breathing. "Okay everyone, we are going to warm up with 4 surya namaskar A's. I will talk you through one round and then we will practice the next three on our own, following our breath. "Whew- okay that bought me some time". I talk everyone through a full round of A, and we begin our surya's on our own. Inhale 8 pairs of arms lift...exhale swan dive thank you. Inhale extend, exhale plant your hands and jump back thank you. Inhale plank, exhale chaturanga thank you. Inhale upward dog, exhale downward dog thank you. Inhale, exhale five breaths thank you. Those words..."Thank you"....became louder and louder in my head with every breath- every asana, until finally I felt my entire being full of gratitude and appreciation for these people around me.... breathing, moving..... there. There...while I worked out my demons on my mat. There.... unaware of the hurt I was navigating. There...in their own spaces, working through their pain, feeling their bliss, breathing into their stillness... We were all together, holding each other up with our breath, our love, our past hurts...without saying a word. The rest of the class continued on with that same sense of reverence, of deep respect and quiet love. The overwhelming sense of Thank You continued to permeate my entire being, until I felt washed clean from the ugly parts of my pain. Pain still there, but clearer....not muddled. My students had no idea what I worked out on my mat- and I have no idea what they worked out on theirs. I do know though, that it is a blessing to have such a deep sense of community.... I do know that I needed to be there with my students more that day than they needed me.... I do know that I am profoundly blessed and humbled to have the amazing people that come into my studio and teach me on a daily basis what it means to love, surrender, to trust. Thank you. Thank you. thank you.
Here is an excerpt from Amma's 2008 New Years Eve talk on Love and Gratitude. Amma..a saint and light in our world.