Feb 13th-20th is International Hug a Yoga Teacher Week
“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” – Lionel Hampton
In early January, I had a chance to return to Vancouver to speak at the University of British Columbia’s Student Leader Conference and to present my Dream Circle workshop in the city.
Another reason for excitement for this trip was that I was going to be in the city for a week, and would have time to visit all of my favourite yoga teachers and attend their classes.
Here is my week of yoga and what I learned:
Thursday: Tianne’s Hatha class at Semperviva Yoga taught me the importance of being in a rest like state, known as Santosha in Sanskrit, as you go through life, remaining unfazed by the highs and lows, non-attached to outcomes, and enjoying the outer experience of life from a peaceful state within.
Sunday: Bernie’s Yin & Meditation classes at Semperviva taught me to observe my limiting thoughts, label them for what they are (a worry, judgment, fear), and let them go.
Monday: Gloria’s Kundalini class at Semperviva got me thinking about how much we hold on to the past, as she asked us throughout the class, “Are you actually ready to let go of 2012?”
Tuesday: Cameron’s Hatha at Semperviva taught me that the most important and challenging thing I’ll ever do in my life is to practice returning to each present moment. He also asked us to contemplate what if this was the last time we were doing yoga and an asteroid was about to hit the Earth. How would we do that pose? Would we complain when we reached our edge, or instead, savour the sweetness of each stretch?
After each class, I went and thanked my teacher and gave them a hug. I don’t get to see my Vancouver teachers often, but they truly have shaped my life. For those of you in Vancouver, please do take advantage of the quality of the teachers in the city.
I was so glad I got to see my teachers, but I also took the time to thank them and lay out exactly how and why I am grateful for them. As students of yoga classes, sometimes we put our yoga teachers up on a pedestal as the wise gurus at the front of our class, forgetting that they too need feedback, love, and a hug once in a while.
As a result, I am proposing February 13th-20th to be International Hug A Yoga Teacher Week!
Here is the link to the Facebook group and feel free to Tweet me @sahiltdhingra using the hashtag #IHYTD. Share who you hugged, perhaps a picture of you hugging your teacher, post a letter or note for your favourite yoga teacher, and perhaps share their reactions.
For a sample of what to say, here is what I told Elle after class, who happens to be my very first yoga teacher:
I need to talk to you for a minute, and tell you something. You are a gift to me. I remember when I first walked in to your class, and to see where I have come since then, I am so grateful for you in my spiritual journey.
Your gentle smile as you pass me by during class always brightens up my day. The peace with which you sit helps me to be still. Your voice soothes me like the tailings of a crashing wave that washes over the sand. You sing like an angel.
I love it when you modify, show me subtle changes in the pose, and help me experience proper anatomical alignment. I appreciate it when you rub your hands together briskly to generate heat, and use your hands to help me adjust and go deeper in the pose than I thought I could.
I think you’re hilarious, and love the jokes you make when I’m trying to hold a challenging pose to help me not take it so seriously. I like the stories you tell and analogies you use to help us relate to our experience in the pose and to connect with you. Your reminder to breathe, let it go, and return to the present are so helpful because I do forget this sometimes.
You are my hero, mentor, and guide. It is why I love you, why I crush on you as a friend, and why you inspire me to soak in all the richness of human experience in this life.
You are a gem.
So hug a yoga teacher on Feb 13th-20th, Tweet me @sahiltdhingra using hashtag #IHYTW and join the Facebook group to share stories, photos, and your teachers’ reactions: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalHugAYogaTeacherDay
Let me know how it goes, and feel free to share this with your fellow yogis and yoga teachers.
P.S. Join the conversation on my online video show, Reconnectfully Yours, this Thursday at 11am EST as I interview Syerah Virani on “Generosity, Sharing and Collaboration” http://sprc.st/i00FO. Syerah is the Founder & CEO of Zentrepreneur Inc. and Zen Campus (Toronto’s newest co-working facility): http://zentrepreneur.ca
P.P.S. In case you missed it, here is my interview from last Thursday with Katie Jeanes on “Staying grounded when things go haywire” http://sprc.st/gyZ8. Katie is the founder of A Little More Good, and a serial social entrepreneur including her latest project of starting a fashion line for game-changing women: http://helenjean.com.