Meditating on what it means to take up less space.

Teaching yoga is a gift. One that holds so many treasures. Today was one of those days that made me stop, think, and really assess what was said to me.

I always saw myself instructing a room full of students once I finished my YTT. I had no idea I would be teaching mostly private lessons and building pop up yoga classes a few years into teaching.

I have been working with a student for the last several months. I open with dharma or lesson, meditation, and pranayama before moving through asana. I close with savasana, meditation, and a closing prayer or chant every class I teach to her.

Working with students privately offers the opportunity to witness and track their progress. Recently I had to break down several asanas to help her get her foundation set and to aid in building strength. After working through foundations and seeing her alignment and strength has been progressing, I moved to focusing on upper body and shoulders. I noticed a lot of limited mobility there as her foundation grew stronger.

The intention I opened with today was, "Focus is a muscle." Often, when we get into the deeper tissues and ligaments, you find a lot of resistance and holding patterns. It's easy to want to back out of the discomfort and not breathe into it. Recently I heard someone say that the mind will give out much quicker than the body will. Moving at a slower pace, feeling every step of the journey and sitting down into stretches and longer holds, "stuff" will bubble to surface. I kept a dialogue between myself and the student going to make sure there wasn't any pain. I guided her to maintain her focus on her breath and witness the transformation of what her body was telling her, if it happened at all.

I had her in savasana, and as she laid there resting I meditated to hold space. I felt like I could sit in that space for a very long time meditating when all of the sudden I felt like my cervical spine grew three inches. It caused me to pull back for a moment and ask myself silently, "Was that me or her?" I felt as though I sensed something she was feeling in her body. I let her stay in savasana for a few more minutes, then slowly proceeded to close class as I always do.

She told me, "That felt good" the moment she opened her eyes. It's nice to be given reassurance that your student really benefitted from the practice physically. Yet, how often as teachers do we really get to know what is happening beyond the surface with our students? I don't recall what sparked the comment, but as we were at our cars my student said to me, "I feel like I take up less space. I feel more grounded, but I feel less heavy."

Those words stopped me. I was literally stunned. It was beautiful and poetic to me. After a moment I said to her, "There is a teaching in there for me. I don't know what your words mean but they're beautiful."

What does taking up less space feel like? Feeling smaller? My mind goes to the thought of feeling spacious, you become spacious. Maybe feeling spacious feels like taking up less space to some. Moving beyond boundaries all the lines become marred and disappear. I always feel expansive, not less spacious. I feel like this teaching will unfold over the next few weeks.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what it feels like to take up less space.