Gray Space

by Lauren Wessinger

I was at a weekend workshop recently where the instructor said “inexperience is really what asks us to choose between black and white. The more experience we have, the more gray area we realize is present.”

When new to teaching yoga, we hope to make it through our class without mixing up left and right or completely forgetting an entire side of the sequence. We plan what to teach based off someone else’s experience and regurgitate someone else’s words. Then after a few months or years, we remember that if we breathe, our class will too.  Oh my, that shift in particular is a powerful one. And then after a while, teaching becomes a feeling of orchestrating energy…until finally we realize that the energy is simply moving through us. We realize that just like every other creature walking this planet, we are the conduit for something far greater than ourselves, should we allow ourselves to be.

Alignment and intelligent sequencing matter in class. They do. But as teachers, when we can get out of the way and make room for the massive shift students feel when they’re safe and held, inspired to make their own choices and encouraged to say yes or no…therein lies the gift of the practice. Personal empowerment.

By incorporating attention, breath, presence and intention into our practice, all that bending and stretching, inverting and twisting we call yoga becomes a powerful way to see our minds more clearly and to open our hearts more deeply. That’s when the magic happens. Bearing witness to our strengths and weaknesses, without judgment, allows us to transform our relationship to ourselves, and in turn transforms our relationship to this world.