Yesterday, I taught a yoga class at Kula Yoga Studio in Toronto themed around connection and companionship. It recently began to bother me that, while we go to yoga studios for a communal yoga experience, we get stuck in our little “yoga bubbles” on our mats and only really connect with others long enough to judge whether we fall short or exceed them in physical mastery. That’s what inspired me to step out of my comfort zone this week and invite my students to join me on a unique journey that resulted in a beautiful energetic exchange beyond what I can describe.
To start, everyone set up their mats in a circle. We began with some ujjayi breathing to connect our breaths to each others’ and to raise awareness of the presence of each individual in this space.
Once we began moving, in our first mountain pose (tadasana), I invited everyone to take a moment to bow to each person in the room, offering them genuine respect and admiration. A few nervous giggles broke out, but everyone ended up smiling and I was in awe of the beauty and humanity this simple gesture had unveiled.
I told the students that we were going to create an “energetic bonfire” by pouring the tapas, the inner fire created through our practice, into the centre of our circle and drawing from that energy whenever in our practice we needed a little support. The physical postures I chose all reflected a sense of ebb and flow, to help bring in an embodied experience of the give and take of healthy relationships and stable connections.
As we stoked our energetic bonfire, I began to encourage the students to offer their heart forward to the rest of the room in various backbends. In their final supine twists, I asked each student to look gently upon their neighbour and to wish them a warm prayer of peace, “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you live with ease.”
As we began to wind down, I brought the circle in closer and had each person place their left hand on their hearts and right hand on their neighbours shoulder or upper back (also offering the option of keeping both hands on the heart for those uncomfortable with physical touch). We chanted 5 gorgeous resounding “om”s together, ringing in the connection we had nurtured physically through vocal vibrations.
As everyone came into their final savasana and rested, I took the time to tend to the energy in the room, sending positive vibes and warm prayers to every special, unique, beautiful soul that lay before me. I do this at the end of each of my classes to honour my students and their presence with me.
At the very end of our time, I asked them to sit up and once again to bow in recognition to each other, one by one. We said “Namaste” and I sent them off with a huge grin.
Even though I was nervous to color outside the lines with this practice, the smile on people’s face as they left lifted me up and opened my heart to the rewards of fostering connection. I had a student visit me after and tell me he could feel the shifts in energy and really appreciated the connection I helped create. That had me feeling such appreciation and gratitude for this special group of students who were so receptive to the class that I dreamed up on a whim and who co-created such an unforgettable experience with me.
Thank you to everyone who attended ❤ You are beautiful souls and you’ve inspired this teacher to continue digging deep for more authenticity and connection.
Special thanks goes to my friend “J” whose class I attended afterwards. She helped me unwind from the adrenaline of teaching such an intense class and sent me home to a wonderfully deep and restful sleep.
May you be filled with peace,
P.S. Would you like to experience a class with me? Check out my Events Page to see when I’m teaching next!
(Images are not from the actual event as I don’t like cameras interfering with the energy of the room by making people nervous about how they look.)