Accepting your own neurosis by accepting your students

Tonight I was teaching a Relax and Renew class and I noticed a few challenges within my own self arise. This was my night to guide my students into a deep state of relaxation. A practice that would allow them the space to be still, quiet and mindful of the their breath. As I put them in meditation, reminding them to tune into a place within that would quiet their minds, I noticed a student twirling her hair. I couldn’t understand why, but told myself to stop wondering and to just accept her neurosis.
I continued to teach a few gentle poses, which then lead into the restorative part of the practice. A part that would still their minds and bodies allowing them the space to transform and let go. This part of the practice directed them inward to the place of peace within their own heart and body. It slowed them down from their busy lives where they are living in an outer-directed way, which then leads them to stress. Restorative yoga poses heal stress and leads the yogi to a feeling of grace and deep relaxation.
Unfortunately, few people understand how to relax. Most people are achievement oriented. Living for the future, they become anxious and exhausted in trying to reach their goals. True relaxation means letting go of striving and anxiety about the future and coming fully into the present moment.
Tonight in class, while my students were in Supta Badha Konasana, I noticed that the girl who twirls her hair also chews gum. As I encouraged them each to breathe deeply, I noticed her chewing away at her gum. She was having a difficult time relaxing just as she was while seated in a still position. I heard her laughing a bit and looking over  at her friend until her friend would eventually look over at her.
There was a moment where I started to take it all personally, but then my own wisdom came in to remind me that she was the student and that I was teacher.
As I sit with it and reflect, I realize she was only mirroring something that I needed to awaken in myself and my teaching. She was reflecting a lesson that I needed to understand.
Laying in legs up the wall is the perfect opportunity to enjoy rest. The legs hang up the wall as blood travels from the tips of the toes, into the shins, calves through the thighs down to the sit bones back into the ground. Your back lays still as arms rest out to the side and palms rest on the belly. Close your eyes and go with the flow.
Once again, there is the challenge for some to let go. I noticed my student crossing her arms and looking over at her friend. I saw that her friend was deeply relaxed and enjoying this position. I felt that the other 7 students in the room were all relaxing and gaining the benefits of the pose. I often intertwine poetry into my teachings, especially a restorative class. I read poems that are related to the pose and allows the yogi to go within and visualize something amazing for themselves. I encourage them to notice each space between the breath.  Each feeling and sensation becomes transformed by the breath.
Restorative yoga allows the yogi to release effort while also allowing themselves to be fully supported and trusting that the practice is holding them. This practice is a nurturing practice and it embraces the more receptive, feminine aspects of yoga, which allows one to be soft and vulnerable. Restorative poses challenge the goal oriented minds and when those minds surrender they learn how to compassionately care for themselves.
My student eventually slowed down as I continued to hold them in more restorative postures. However, she still crossed her arms in relaxation. As we ended with yoga nidra, I noticed she was barely chewing her gum and her fingers were away from her hair. I could see the reflection of my own subtle teaching and wisdom help calm her into her sacred space. My own lessons were learned and I saw where I had been the student. I saw that my own insecurities didn’t need to come into my teaching. I noticed that it’s always wisdom in the heart that creates the space for inner growth in accepting that we are one.

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