Today marked the first day of my double yoga practice Sundays; last month, the health club asked me if I’d be willing to teach back-to-back classes on Sunday mornings after the new year, and though I was hesitant to take it on, I said yes.
I’m glad I did. I ran the first class as a power practice and managed to work up a sweat. The second class was the more stretchy, meditative format I’ve been leading in that time slot for something like six years now. I left the place feeling a little bit stronger than I usually do, and I’m considering starting up a personal, at home practice because of it.
At the end of every class, I sit still and quiet while the participants settle into their resting poses for savasana. More often than not, something will pop into my head to say as I’m waking them up – something for them to take off the mat and out into the world with them . Today, it went something like this:
In 2009, I helped my mother die of cancer. One of the greatest lessons I took from that experience is the truth that you cannot give what you do not have; that taking care of yourself first is not an act of selfishness, but rather a necessary first step toward being able to take care of others. Take time to figure out what you need, then do what you need to do in order to get it. Recharge your own batteries; treat yourself, give yourself time or space, work to clear the clutter in your environment or the toxic people in your life or the static in your energy. If you’ve taken good care of yourself, you’re better able to take good care of others.
I’ve come to understand that most of the meditations I hear in my head at the end of yoga classes are intended primarily for me. Much of my focus these last few weeks has been on just this practice. I’m starting to get the hang of it, but it’s still something I have to do mindfully; with luck, I’ll eventually be able to absorb it into my habits and not have to be so carefully deliberate about tending to my own needs.