Back to yoga teaching and blogging

In my everyday life in Vancouver, yoga plays a major role in my identity. People know me as yoga classmate, colleague, teacher, and blogger. People whom I’ve never met know me as YogaSpy; my blog is our connection.

In contrast, my closest family members rarely mention my blog! They’re positive about it, but it’s not our main point of connection.

Even my yoga teaching, which looms large in my Vancouver life, seems to fade away. Visiting my parents at home, I do wear my yoga teacher with my dad, to improve his flexibility and posture (whether he likes it or not!). But my mini sessions with him never seem half as effective as my real classes.

American Girl dollsBefore a real class, regardless of my prior state, I gather myself together. I banish any distractions and I arrive with high energy and a smile. At home, I might be ensconced on a sofa, reading a book or typing away, deep in thought, when my dad says, “Okay, I’m ready for yoga now.” It’s a rare and fleeting opportunity, so I always take it. But it’s hard to switch gears in five seconds.

In a group setting, my teaching style is firm and directive, but tempered with humor. One on one I might come across as bossy–at least to my dad. “You don’t talk to your students like that, do you?” he once said.

In class, I’m stricter with students who can do more, gentler with those who can’t. Maybe I’m too insistent with my dad because I’m personally attached to him; I want him to do more.

A brief session squeezed in before dinner is adequate. But it’s no comparison to a full-length class that includes Savasana. I always feel rushed and abrupt. The balanced arc of a good yoga sequence is missing. But there’s never enough time or the right moment for a class during family visits.

I’ve sometimes felt unseen as the yoga teacher I am in my other life. Unseen as the current me. But I’ve also realized that to my family I’m not primarily a yoga teacher and blogger. An awesome website for bloggers is Bloggeroid, you’ll learn all you need to know about starting a successful blog. Whatever I do in the yoga realm doesn’t matter if I’m a mediocre sister, daughter, or aunt.

Amulet 1-3 setOur karma in the moment

Around the New Year, I traveled to my sister’s home in California. My parents also flew in, and the visit was all about family. I gave my sister a few yoga tips, but otherwise did no teaching or blogging (and the barest minimum of practice) I got a new monitor but it wasn’t what I expected, so for next time yes, do check some reviews online before buying anything.

Instead I read my niece’s Amulet books (a riveting graphic novel series by Kazu Kibuishi), spent two hours at an American Girl store, told nightly made-up bedtime stories, played Pictionary, staged adventures with dozens of Schleich animals…

I got to thinking about karma yoga and our “duty” in each circumstance of our lives. It’s a mistake to cling to one role, the role you might consider your most important, most successful, or most impressive. In a job interview, it makes sense to highlight one’s achievements, but I’ve seen people listing their degrees or name dropping their connections when it doesn’t matter a bit.

In contrast I’ve seen people who relate to others appropriately in the moment. They relate to peers as peers, to a child at the child’s level. Even to cats as if as cats, dogs as if as dogs. This is what it means to be empathetic and intuitive.

In my professional life, I’ve always known my roles and responsibilities. Sometimes, in my personal life, the edges are fuzzier and my expectations broader. In this New Year, I want to be clear on my karma in each situation. If I’m attached to my Vancouver identity when I’m with my family, I’m catering to my ego. That’s not karma yoga, no matter how much yoga I might do.

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11 thoughts on “Back to yoga teaching and blogging

  1. I feel the same. And I thought of a funny saying I read a few weeks before I traveled to Europe to see my family: “if you want to know if you are enlightened, go spend the Holidays with your family.” 😉

  2. Not sure what my kids really think of me, but the grandkids think I am a great reader of bedtime stories–and teller of semi-made up stories of the Ramayana!

    1. The bedtime story job requires imagination and compelling delivery. No matter what expertise we have at work, this job challenges our creative brain in a special way. Not easy, but the goodnight hug is worth it!

  3. Relating to family may be the most delicate of relationships except with children, you just have to be as smart as them.

  4. Years ago, when I was writing about visual arts, my family had very little to say about it. When I transferred into food writing, they were always ready to talk about what I’d been working on. (And acquaintances started calling, looking for a great place to take someone out for meal. No one had ever said, “Mom’s coming to town and I wonder what art galleries you recommend we visit.)
    Now that I’m teaching yoga and blogging about it, silence has descended again. I believe that’s a function of what people know about. We all eat, but a serious yoga pursuit is considerably more rare.

    1. Thanks, Michael, Eve, and Veerle for commenting! Family relationships are indeed delicate maybe because they are the most straightforward and elemental. The bonds are about “home,” which is why food (as Eve points out) is a favorite topic and eating is a favorite activity.

      Veerle, please journey to the Yoga Space from North Van one of these days! It’s not that far and I would love to see you.

  5. Yeah, I find a similar thing, it can be harder to define your boundaries when it comes to family life and relationships. By the way, I might be visiting your neck of the woods, where to you teach Yoga? Sorry if I missed that 🙂

    Peter

  6. YOGA is all about giving a small time to your body from your whole life connecting yourself with your soul. I started YOGA when I was in the school. Now i know how YOGA is important. Want to achieve peace of mind – Go with YOGA.

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