December 3rd, 2018
If you’ve been to a yoga studio or even searched the web for a good online yoga session, you’re probably familiar with some variation of this saying:
“The light, the love, the student and the teacher in me is grateful for and bows to the light, the love, the student and the teacher in you.”
What this really means is that we are all students and we are all teachers. At all times, we have the capacity to learn and to teach. In yoga class, as a student, you primarily feel like you are being taught. This is when it’s difficult to identify why a studio practice is hard to transfer to a home practice.
The best way to think of this is to compare it to school, where if something doesn’t easily transfer from class to home, we have to be more cognizant by practicing and taking notes. A great way to enhance your practice and awaken the teacher and spirit guide in you is by keeping a yoga journal.
A little incentive might help kick off the journaling journey. You can start by purchasing a nice journal and some pens. The best way to learn something is to teach it, so take the initiative to teach yourself more about the yogic journey, with the assistance of teachers and the yoga community, of course.
The next time you love the flow a teacher has, the next time you discover a cool new move you want to work towards, the next time you want to harness a series of intentions to pinpoint the root of challenges in your life, just write a few lines in a journal about where you are now and where you intend to go with your practice.
First, you need to personalize the light yoga brings.
If you’re interested in embarking on this self exploration journey, write out one sentence of what you want to be and say it as if you already are. This is called a sankalpa, and works by manifesting a way of being. For instance, if you are shy and wish to be more social and confident, your sankalpa might be: “I am a strong, bold, beautiful free spirit”…
Ease into this. Journaling can seem like an overwhelming chore if the habit is not formed slowly and compassionately. Start by writing down poses and intentions you like from each class you take. Moving forward you will find ways to personalize the intention given in class to line up with your sankalpa. Teachers are giving you tools, but what is the use of such tools without a project, without a focused goal? Use the tools given and see how they work into making “project YOU” healthier and happier.
Next, you need to be kind to yourself as you embark on this journey.
There will be slip ups and you will forget to and even procrastinate journaling. Trust, this is apart of the process. The beauty of this practice and this journey is that there is time to learn and grow. Learning and growing can often breed sensations of guilt, remorse, regret, and even unhappiness.
Show yourself the love you would show to a friend or family member if they had acted out of character. Be gentle with yourself, knowing that all powerful, intricate things must take their time to grow. Show yourself love if you dedicate yourself to this journey, and sometimes your actions do not meet your expectations. Showing ourselves love means being flexible and lowering expectations can be a great source of managing stress in your practice. Take your time, and ease up if you need.
Your journey is absolutely unique, and comparing ourselves to everyone else’s digital highlight reels is simply not realistic. If you think about it, it’s pretty cool that humans are all so different. Let’s embrace that, shall we!
As mentioned above, teachers have a set of tools, but not all tools work for different projects. Utilize your tool box: ASK FOR HELP/ADVICE/HUGS/IDEAS!!!!! As a teacher myself, I sometimes find myself blocked when trying to think of which peak pose I want to target in class. If there is something you are eager to try on or learn how to tackle, ask your teacher. Odds are you’ll have them itching to create a series for that pose. Win-win.
Try to keep journaling constantly and practicing basic poses at home. If nothing else, target your main emotional and physical obstacles and tackle them by meditating and practicing poses while manifesting your sankalpa.
Being a student means asking questions, working with your teacher, and being authentic in asking for what you need. By harnessing the power to be the best student you can be, which often associates with dropping the ego, you can start an empowering relationship that propels you further into your practice.
Time for you to spread the word. If journaling worked for you, great. If not, also great. Share your experiences with people who are also diving deep into their journeys and use this as an opportunity for tips and authentic connection.
If you do not have a community to share this with, tell your yoga teacher! Above all else, teachers are students and we are constantly working on our own sankalpas, intentions, and goals. I, personally, am always inspired by hearing what students are working on, and it helps me personalize the class.
Even though technically we are all on separate journeys, it is the times when our paths cross that generate such meaningful experiences and give us the courage to work towards the next stage of our journeys, wherever they may lead.
Stay connected, stay intentional, stay grounded.
The light, the love, the student and the teacher in me bows to the light, the love, the student and the teacher in you.
Written by Meraki Teacher Aliya Gorelick
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