Louise’s Story …
I originally enrolled in the Yogaspace Hatha Yoga teaching training to deepen and broaden my knowledge of yoga, not necessarily to share my practice with others. It was through the course that my practice began to shift and my joy, passion and love for yoga deepened so much I felt compelled to share yoga with others. After practicing hot yoga 5-6 times a week before starting our family, I enjoyed the power and strong sweat-inducement offered through vinyasa classes – the stronger the better. This would be the yoga I would teach! Strong, challenging and energetic vinyasa flow class.
It was at first a truly physical practice; berating and competing with myself; how much could I push myself today I would ponder. This was my practice for many many years. For the first year of the teacher training I still continued to push hard.
It was during this first 12 months of the course I resisted the idea of completing the compulsory classes taught to non for profit groups. Why would I want to teach senior chair yoga or teach a gentle non for profit to the general public who cant even move into Adho Mukha Svanasana. I want to teach a strong vinyasa class to fit people! I complained to family and anyone that would listen. Finally my husband had enough and humorously offered, “You don’t marry a gorilla and then complain about banana breath, just get on with it”. He was right of course and I sulked. However, over the training period I found a peace. An existing knee injury combined with the shift of my practice
to withdraw. It is a very humbling practice. I practised Mysore and vinyasa classes where I didn’t push hard or to my edge in every single asana. I went onto the mat to align with a deeper sense of contentment, quite and equanimity.
The study of ancient texts and philosophy as part of the training allowed me to study myself and although I wasn’t aware, as I wasn’t looking – it changed me. I don’t think yoga changes you into a better version of yourself; I believe that the theory component of the training, expanding my knowledge and the physical practice removed the obstacles that concealed who I really am. The spiritual aspects of my yoga practice revealed themselves, I felt peace and unconditional compassion and love.
to early morning Mysore led me to find self-love and the ego slowly started
So off I went, I began to guide senior chair yoga at a community centre and a deep fondness developed.The joy of giving the gift of yoga is hard to put into words. I have so much gratitude to the seniors and it is truly an honour and a blessing to guide their practice. Even though I have an objective for the class, I have to remember to go with the flow and work within their energy levels. Iam compassionate in my approach, which is not forced, it is inherently me. I quickly realized the importance of awareness that the seniors are loving souls looking for a connection. They are not invisible and they feel that I am a loving presence, just as they are. To bring thecommunity together through yoga and to know that my guidance has in some small way had a positive impact or brightened their day is very fulfilling.
They may range in age from sixty to nearly ninety but have the mindset of a thirty/forty something with wicked senses of humour, each offering qualities and spirit of their nature I have become enchanted with. Although we do not practice laughter yoga, we always tend to have a good laugh, which is a wonderful stress alleviator and also known to reduce blood pressure.
Little did I know how much the teach training would change my life. I have moved away from aversion and yearning and moved toward compassion, connection and acceptance. The idea that yoga is for strong able-bodied people is long gone. Yoga is for all people of all ages, shapes and sizes.
As we take seated Tadasana and I complete my verbal cues, one of the seniors Doreen states “there is one thing I am sure of in this world Louise and that is that at my age and as much as I try my navel is not, never and will never move back toward my spine”. I reply “One day Doreen, one day, in the words of a very wise man practice and all is coming!”