I saw the class teacher as I prepared to enter the yoga studio for a stretching session. "I am really ready for a deep stretch," I said wearily. "I am ready to help facilitate that for you," she said, calmly and confidently.
Notice she did not say "I am here to do that for you" or even "to you" but, rather, "to facilitate that for you." Meaning that my role is in connection with hers, yes, but the outcome of the class rests squarely on how I choose to show up and engage - or not.
A conversational exchange of what I love and appreciate so much about teacher-led exercise classes: The teacher is there to help you help yourself. Yes, the teacher is there to guide the class but it is up to the student to get the most (or anything at all) out of the experience. It is not a passive process; a "successful" student is an engaged being, looking to get something out of the experience to further his/her life journey. This could be intellectual, emotional, physical, or spiritual evolution. For me, in my yoga classes (deep stretch included), it is often a very active invitation to all of these.
I am, myself, a certified yoga teacher and I do a personal practice of yoga as well as lots of other exercise on my own. But I absolutely love and appreciate the experience of a group exercise class and get different things out of this type of dynamic. I appreciate the energy, the guidance, the kula (community) of it. And I find myself sending gratitude to the teachers in every case, recognizing them as providers of an appreciated assist for me in my journey. The assist is there; it just always looks at least a little different.
This also gets me thinking about all the other people in our lives who help empower us to live our best or most fulfilled life: our teachers in school, our preachers, and (of course) our hairstylists, masseuses, and manicurists!
I often think of this when I am in the midst of their service: how grateful I am for the tools they are providing, and the immediate opportunity to enjoy and immerse myself in the positive activity. I also think about the best way to demonstrate my gratitude - and feel that many people including employers are in the same boat. How do you most meaningfully demonstrate that you value another being and the time and talents they offer to your life experience?
Is it through gifting? Is it though monetary reward? Is it through a simple thank you? Or public recognition, perhaps?
I am still in the inquiry of this: How do I best demonstrate my gratitude for all those along the path of my journey; those in the community, in the conversation with me. Helping me to find my way, strengthening my journey as I hopefully strengthen theirs.
Maybe the answer is simple; maybe it resides simply in the ebb and flow of giving and grateful receipt, response. The unveiling of it simply reveals the beauty of it.
Dr. Cindy Haines is a family doctor, medical journalist, and "70.3 yogi." For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms. More medical care doesn’t mean better health. Dr. Haines and Metcalf reveal some of the most egregious problems with a medical system gone awry, opening readers’ eyes to how to better navigate the changes underway. Using solid research, insiders’ insights, and patient anecdotes, they offer cost-effective and potentially life-saving ways to get more out of health care while using less of it.
Published On: December 15, 2013