My husband gave me a membership to the best gym in my town for my birthday present several years ago. Don’t go getting into a huff, I asked for that for my present. 😉 I spent a year or more doing weights and cardio, but never took a class. My yoga mat, at that time, only saw the light of day in my house. I was happy to be there at the gym, but never once thought of finding tadasana amongst the treadmills. One day, however, a friend of mine mentioned going to the same gym and trying out a yoga class. She didn’t want to go alone, so I happily joined her.
That class changed my life. That was the class in which I first saw Polly. I was gobsmacked. Here was what I had been searching for: humor, spirituality, alignment, history, philosophy, empowerment, challenge, and rocking tunes. I left that class feeling the same way I felt on certain occasions in college (minus the risk of drug charges and plus the endorphin thrill of an honest workout!) I went home and dug out my old yoga books, my (VERY difficult to read) translation of the Bhagavad Gita, and dove in.
It took me a full year to find Polly and that feeling again. The minute I found it, however, I grasped on tight. That grasp has taken me far.
Fast-forward to now.
I found myself teaching at the gym yesterday and again tonight. What used to be a thrice weekly occurrence is now a very rare event, happening only when someone at the gym needs a sub. I’m proud of myself and my growth. I am proud of where I am. And, as odd as it sounds, I am still happy to, occasionally, teach in a gym.
I kept my eyes wide open as I taught yesterday and tonight. I wanted to see these students. I wanted to meet them where they are and see what it is that they want, need, hope for. I went there looking to see others. What I saw was myself. I saw myself as i was years ago, laying a mat down in a gym, hoping for the best, expecting the worst. I saw my own eyes staring back at me with wonder and amazement. I saw my own heart lift out of chests, my own feet find purchase in the earth, my own arms reaching for a collective future. I saw them looking at me as I looked at Polly years ago.
I teach yoga because I want to give. I want to give because people want to receive. Yes, there are people in gyms who want only to raise their heartrates and lower their waist measurements. There are also those who want volumes more but, for lack of resources or direction, are limited to the gym. Yoga can give them all of it. ALL of it. They can have their cake and eat it, too. There are those who are thirsty for something to cling to: hope, faith, compassion, history, love, LOVE, L O V E! Let them have it. Let them have it all.
I will continue to occasionally go to the gym to teach. I may occasionally go there to learn as well. Yoga is for ALL. It is an all you can eat buffet. I’m so happy to be able to serve up the sweets.