Those Who Can, Teach. Those Who Can’t, Don’t Teach.

Mixing it up

It occurred to me close to six weeks ago, like an instant flash, it was time for me to start teaching yoga.  Truly, a voice inside (and I don’t really think it was mine) strongly stated: “It’s time for you to teach. Make it happen.”  And I knew that this time it would be adults.  I had taught children’s yoga in Nashville.  Starting off with a non profit, Small World Yoga and then teaching an 8 week session at a local studio.  The little ones were delightful and three year old Henry captured my full attention each time he spoke or even moved.  At one point, his face continued to grimace every time he rolled or sat down on the floor.  I finally asked him what was wrong.  “Well, Miss Durden, I simply have a spider man in my pocket.”  And then he pulled out this red and blue figurine from the back of his sweat pants.  His tiny plastic arms and legs were turned every which direction from being part of the first 20 minutes of class.  “Would you like to place him in the outdoor cubbies?” He didn’t want this option because he believed spidey would really like yoga class too.  So, next week, I created an asana class dedicated to all thing super heroes. Henry absolutely loved doing the Silver Surfer!  It was actually just Virabrhadrasana II (Warrior 2).

However, even though I loved the little yoga beings, I wasn’t challenged in anyway.  I had forgotten that the pose, Happy Baby wasn’t actually in fact Happy Panda.  I knew it was called Ananda Balasana in Sanskrit but I had gotten so used to calling it Happy Panda due to a zoo inspired class that I retrained my brain for the constant act of play.  Oh, play, is wonderful and there will always be an aspect of it in my classes but I needed something more.  A few weeks before finding out that Patrick and I would be leaving Nashville, I taught at an after school program for challenged teens.  I went every week for a month.  It was the teacher that helped with the kids studies that woke me up.  She was a much heavier woman and the simple act of folding over in staff pose caused her difficulty.  I brought her my straps to help with her flexibility.  On our last class she share with me that she had been doing at least ten minutes yoga a day like I had instructed.  She said that she has felt a huge shift in herself towards stress.  I learned that day she had five children at home and worked full time.  I ended that session with one of my favorite Sanskirt chants: “Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu”.  I didn’t know how they would react to hearing a chant but I knew this was who I was at my core as a teacher.  “May all beings be happy and be free”.

So, I was here for seven months and it never occurred to me teach.  I had felt so stripped from my strength.  Our leaving Nashville in two weeks released much of our energy into finding a new house, packing, and tying up loose ends and our goodbyes seem to really hit more once we had driven 17 hours.  Although, there is that beautiful story of my close friends helping us pack when our movers didn’t show up.  It rained and poured until nearly midnight but my dear ones saved us.  My CiCi came intoxicated but with an open heart.  I learned later that she would have not been able to tell me goodbye without the help of wine.  This is what I posted on my facebook wall the night before we left:

Grateful. As my Patrick and I waved our last goodbye, he turned to me, “I’m in awe of your amazing friends. That was just a Lemon Army…they must come stay with us. Our home will always be open to them.” After twenty minutes of posting a plea in my lulu Facebook page…my beautiful army came. I cry as I write this….yes, partly out of pure exhaustion (our movers didn’t show up today and my Patrick and I with the help of Fadi and his friend John for two hours loaded up a truck. They left and then for the next five hours, Patrick and I worked endlessly. At 8pm, I reached out to the ones who I consider my dearest friends. Thank you Megan and Matt for your arrival tonight. Matt, Meg, Stevie and Cody…amazing work on rearranging the truck so more could go in. We were amazed how fast ya’ll did this! Sissy…love, you cleaned our bathroom…you are amazing…you took control when I just couldn’t think anymore. Patrick Luther thank you for the pizza and taking away our trash…and for frightening my dog…(she looks forward to your visit) Ciona …oh, cici…thank you for being non productive when you first arrived…it made everything worth while…your squeaking that toy completely by yourself will forever be in my memories. Patrick Mcnally…dammit, we are not Facebook friends…(someone send this to him)…thank you thank you thank you for taking P’s old never used bullets. AND…hauling off so much trash. Stevie, thank you for arriving with such swift speed and kicking’ ass the moment you arrived. Meg…thank you for being here, your energy lifted my spirits. Sissy thank you for being here. Ciona and Patrick and “our” Patrick…thank you for being here for us. And thank you for the texts from Liz V and Meredith (thank you for offering up your husband)…my phone was lost for a good amount of the day. Our hearts our full. Friends are the ones you never EVER have to ask twice….(again, I cry). Grateful.

On our last Wednesday in town we had a goodbye gathering at a local bar, the Flying Saucer.  Many of Patrick’s friends came and I was able to say goodbye to Jen, Sujanna, and Divya.  Also, my very sweet Melissa came.  She is one of those friends that will always be a constant.  Those friends you get and you wonder how you got so lucky.

However, the real loss was felt after the fury winded down.  The loss sank in as we put our pink flamingos out in our new front yard.  The neighbors may hate us but Patrick bought them for me to make me smile.  The pain of realizing that again I am starting over with a new community just felt overwhelming.  Especially when I had finally felt true roots in a city that healed me.

So, for eight months, I don’t really know what I’ve been doing.  I’ve been working at a new job.  It is also a new position.  I’ve created relationships with those around me.  I’ve been living, I guess.

But then that voice spoke to me nearly six weeks ago.  “Teach Yoga”.  I responded to that voice and said, “most certainly but it will be on my terms for myself.”

Last week, I had my first class.  I am teaching at my neighborhood’s community center.  It is a retro building built in 1957 and is nearly all floor to ceiling windows.  It looks out to palm trees and menacing oak trees laden with spanish moss.  A large black creek winds down off to the side.  The same creek where Patrick and I go and feed turtles four miles down.  We’ve learned that they do not so much like broccoli but frozen succotash does get their attention.

Last week, I had two students…and Patrick.  He rode his bike down and wanted to support me.  (I have a good one).  Prior to class beginning, I spoke with two other woman who said they’d be coming this week.  My goal will be to grow each week and then to have a constant 15 in each session.  This all happened because I walked in there and asked if I could teach.  A wonderful lesson to know: create what you want and then show up for yourself.

I don’t know everything about yoga.  I’m still learning the asana’s names.  I’m not as flexible as I want to be.  But.  I want to live in possibility.  And sometimes that may mean jumping before I have all the answers.  Like Rumi says, “What you seek is seeking you”.  I just decided to meet in the middle a tad faster.

A thank you to Megan Z for inspiring me to teach.  We became friends during our 200 hour and her grace on and off the mat has given me raw guidance.


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1 Comment

  1. Oh Sarah! I cherish my friendship with you something fierce. You are indeed a constant in my life and always will be. I am the lucky one, by the way…

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