Laura and I have an agreement. When she needs someone to cover her yoga classes, I’m her “go to”…and vice versa. Since she’s on vacation this week, I have the pleasure of covering four of her classes. I say pleasure because Laura does such a great job with her students that subbing for her is a true treat.
Today, I found myself at Cathedral high school teaching a lovely group of teachers. I’d long heard of these ladies and this class. Several friends…fellow yoginis…and teachers I highly respect have graced Cathedral as their weekly yoga teacher. So I was excited to get to experience this group…and a little nervous.
Nervous because I don’t think I’ve been in a high school since shortly after I graduated. No joke…so it’d been years! I didn’t enjoy high school and the thought of walking back into it…into any high school…was not something high on my list of to dos.
Couple things I noticed right away upon entering the building. First, it didn’t smell like I remembered. You know that smell I’m talking about. I’m not sure there are even words to describe it…you just know it when you smell it. I’m happy to say that smell did not greet me at the door.
The next thing I noticed when I entered the classroom where we’d be doing yoga was all the Jesus stuff. He was everywhere. I mean everywhere! I don’t think I’ve been in a parochial school before…at least not that I can remember.
As I waited for the students to arrive, my gaze made it’s way to the back of the room. Directly across from where I’d place my mat…directly behind where the students would place their mats…was a statue of Jesus. He stood about 3 feet tall…arms spread open…palms up…with a slight downward tilt to his chin and a subtle smile. He would be joining us for class.
Regardless of what some people think, yoga isn’t a religion. It has what could be considered a dogma of sorts with the yamas and niyamas, but it doesn’t have a god. Despite the fact that we often have our hands in prayer, we don’t pray to a “yoga god”.
Yoga exists to support all humans and all beliefs. It honors the Spirit that resides within us..the Force that created us…created the Earth…created the Universe. Through yoga we learn how to access that Spirit by feeling it in our bodies. It’s a practice that helps to move your beliefs from your mind…to your heart…and throughout your entire body. It’s truly a beautiful compliment to any religious practice, in my opinion.
I hadn’t really thought about all this in a while…but with Jesus staring back at me this afternoon, it was hard to ignore. I worried that I might become a bit unsettled practicing with religious paraphernalia all around me. But once I got moving…once I turned my attention within so I could tune into the students and their energy, I completely forgot where I was. And who was standing over us…watching.
Today, Jesus blessed our practice.