Dear Homegrown Yogis,
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
This Brene Brown quote served as the inspiration for our July weekend of yoga teacher training. Beyond instructing yoga poses, we discussed how effective yoga teachers create connection both with the people attending their classes and within their communities. Specifically we looked at techniques such as hands-on-assisting, sharing from personal experience and making eye contact. These are things that no one may even notice when attending a yoga class, but they are things that cumulatively create a sense of connection and belonging.
I’ve often heard that we teach what we most need to learn. As our July weekend wrapped up, I realized how much I needed this lesson in connection. This weekend I am leaving to spend a week in Maine with my husband, daughter and my husband’s family. Several months ago, we learned that my husband’s mom has bile duct cancer and this past week, they found that the cancer has spread dramatically. All of us – kids and grandkids – are going to Maine to spend a week together at the beach.
Since finding out about the initial diagnosis, I have told everyone “I am just not good at dealing with these types of things.” I feel like I never have the right words to say to my husband, and I have felt anxiety about how to act and what to say when I see my mother-in-law this coming week.
As I talked and listened over the weekend, I had my own “aha” moment. Just like people coming to a yoga class want to feel a sense of connection, that is all my husband and mother-in-law likely want as well. And just like we can build connection as a yoga teacher through verbal and non-verbal ways, I can connect without having the perfect thing to say. As a yoga teacher, I believe you create connection in your class by showing up as you truly are and by seeing and loving your students as they truly are. As a human being, I’m beginning to realize that is all that is required of me as well.