"Most people are too polite to say, " are you the yoga teacher???". Many times I can win them over for at least one session, some times they surprise both of us and become one of my regular students.
Ok , sounded like I was up on my high horse, huh? Now here is the other " shoe drop". I did it too. YUP, I admit it, in my early days, I did it. If someone walked into my class and they weren't " my demographic," I immediately became defensive and passive aggressive. Never rude ( oh gosh I hope not) but internally judgy. Then a beautiful woman walked into my yoga class. This woman really intimidated me, more from my own insecurities than anything she actually did. She rolled out her mat and we did the class introductions.
Why are you here ( intention)
What do you need ( attention)
This amazing woman shared with us her story of extreme back pain issues that were disabling. She felt often minimized because she was able to " put herself together well" and no one believed that she was in pain.
I was crushed. Crushed under the weight of my bias and judgement. Never again after that wonderful woman ( who ended up being a long time student) did I see "My demographic". I saw students. I shared yoga.
I am proud of my culture and love the diversity of my classes. My classes are filled with all body types, abilities, color, gender, sexual orientation and all people get to define themselves as they wish. I do not love labels ( I may share why sometime) and deeply resent when I am given a label I find objectionable. That is why My Real Bodyoga exists. For each of us to define ourselves and have a community where you are completely accepted just as you are. And that community is growing. Every year, I find another place where I need to put more heart and less judgement. Every year, I fall deeper in love with my students who teach me about what service to yoga really means.
I choose to be vulnerable about my lessons to show you that no matter how you come to the mat, imperfect, searching, angry, judging, Yoga will show you a different path. Stay open, move with breath and you will be forever changed.
Learning to move my body in a meaningful way and having yoga love me when I didn't love myself opened my heart to love others more deeply.
Thank you for teaching me to be more loving, more accepting, to be real about my struggles in acceptance and learning more what inclusion is. If it weren't for all of you, I would be a lonely woman. Your lessons daily fill my heart.
Please check out my other work at www.thehousethatsoapbuilt.com
Sandra Kozlowski, CDP, CAAR, AAS, RHY 200
Curvy Yoga Certified, Y12SR Certified, Yoga for All Certified
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