When I was a sophomore at American University I signed up for instructor training at DC Yoga. It was something I wanted to do since I started practicing seven years prior. Being a yoga teacher was fulfilling and the perfect thing for my uber-liberal, anti-meat, anti-establishment mama to be proud of. She was, in fact, the one who sparked my yoga journey. One day she suggested that Brother Bill try yoga to calm his anxiety and asked that I accompany him, just in case he needed my assistance. Turns out, he didn’t so I was free to practice some Ashtanga Vinyasa. Compared with the room full of geriatrics, it seemed like I was a natural and thus my yoga love affair began.
Home Away From Home
My DC Yoga family was at times dysfunctional. Nevertheless, I developed my practice and found my place in the family as the small drill sergeant with a great relaxation practice. I was so deemed because of my penchant for making my students hold positions for a while, as you are supposed to. The last thing I wanted was hate mail from older Yogis complaining that I move through the positions too quickly like many of the modern teachers.
About a year after my mom passed away, I decided to retire my yoga mat. At the time, I used a masseuse’s gross mistreatment of a client as an excuse to leave. But really I found the 9-5 world appealing because it offered the stability and predictability I longed for with my mother no longer around to ground me.
What I didn’t realize, however, was how much I relied on the karma of teaching for grounding and perspective. At the time, I said teaching inconvenienced me. Saying that neglected all of the good it did. Research has proven that yoga can actually improve every aspect of your life. Aside from that though, teaching yoga is the cheapest and best legal drug available. My unscientific theory is that the collaboration of people and energy coming together for a common interest and goal is powerful. Spending an hour free from superficiality, commercialism, envy, greed, jealousy is a force to be reckoned with. I would leave each class so high that meth addicts would envy me.
Why did I leave this behind, you may ask? Well, it wasn’t very long after I quit that I felt an intangible void pulsating through every pore of my being.
Coming Out of Yoga Retirement
These days, I still miss some of the traditions that accompany the yogic lifestyle. I plan to start teaching again soon but that is only one aspect of the tradition that I find so appealing. I often reflect on Satsang, a Sanskrit term which translates to mean a gathering together for the truth. It is not as serious as it sounds. At my old studio we gathered together to chant, sing and eat on the first Sunday of every month. The chanting and the singing were secondary to the home cooking and the energy produced by collaborating for the greater good.
Now I’ve decided to start a mission to bring back the potluck. It’s exactly what the country needs: a cheap way to socialize and an activity to encourage home cooking! My mother spent so much of her life teaching people about nutrition, I think it is only right that I continue the family tradition. I just need people, a place and someone who knows how to play the sitar.