give up aspirations

The Pittsburgh yoga community is really coming along. Just this past month, they held their first annual yoga fest, featuring Sherri Baptiste. During that event, Sherri Baptiste reiterated over and over that, "the Pittsburgh yoga community is really doing something big," and although I got the feeling that she probably repeats this all over the world to every city she travels to, she was right about Pittsburgh.

brayn kest
Bryan Kest - yoga instructor & pioneer of the term "Power" Yoga
In the past few years, more and more studios have opened up and succeeded in the Pittsburgh  area. The more serious yogis we have, the more demand there is for seriously awesome instructors. Bryan Kest is a world-renowned yogi, teacher and mentor. I've admired his teachings in various videos and books, but in October, I will have the opportunity to take a Power Yoga Master Class from him, right here in Pittsburgh. To give you an idea of his popularity, here's what Bryan's schedule looks like: Mexico, Guam, Philippines, Australia, Korea...Pittsburgh. :)

As the date draws closer to the sold-out October class, I find myself becoming somewhat... nervous? Between my long daily commute for my full-time job and teaching yoga part-time in the evenings, I've only been squeezing in short daily practices for myself. I'm thankful for each practice, but I feel like I've plateaued physically and mentally. My little bucket-list of goal-poses has gathered dust and I'm afraid that I'll be unprepared for such a demanding class.

Just as I my guilt really began to settle-in and I felt like a lazy yogi and inadequate teacher who would spend half of this master class drooling in Child's pose, I ran across this quote from none-other than Mr. Kest himself:

"A yoga class is not a contest between you or anyone you may be practicing with. It isn't even a contest between you and yourself. Forget about how loose and strong you used to be way back when. Give up any aspirations of how loose and strong you hope to be one day. Just be where you are! Make that o.k. Doing yoga correctly means not trying to get anywhere, but being where you are as fully as possible. You'll benefit from class by your effort regardless of how far or deep you get. As long as you are feeling it and you are breathing calmly, you're practicing correctly." - Bryan Kest
I know all this. But in my nervous excitement for this class, how easily I had forgotten my real goals! No one should be judging me, but I should not be judging myself either. "Giving up aspirations" is unnatural for me and finding peace exactly where I am is a part of my yoga journey that I struggle with. In our culture and as a teacher, it's easy to slip into the habit of being goal and results-oriented. Sometimes we all need little reminders to practice contentment and self-acceptance with the same effort we put into asana.

I hope this blog post finds you well and content with wherever you are! Namaste!

Read the follow-up post on the Bryan Kest class here.