Saturday, 24 September 2011

Being of service

I just came back from a powerful week of training with Baron Baptiste and his group of master teachers. It was by far the most effective, inspiring, and motivating program I've ever done with Baptiste. The Yoga Journal Conference Baptiste Immersion was 3 days long with a 4 hour morning master class with Baron followed by break out sessions in the afternoon with 10 incredible teachers. It was really hard to choose which session to do and yet I know I was in the perfect one each time.

I went into this immersion with no expectation of having any kind of breakthrough. I was there to connect with the Baptiste community and to be of service to Paige Elenson and the Africa Yoga Project. I had it in my mind that I was going for her and not me. I got a pretty quick wake up call that allowed me to realize that I MUST be at service to myself first before being any support to others. Throughout the week, either in meditation or in the physical practice I was lead to a pretty powerful ah-ha moment. I've been running, pushing, driving, to be "at service". "What can I do for you" has lead me to a depleted place. A nagging feeling of not being good enough even while I'm helping others has left me feeling empty. I realize I've been on a pretty big ego trip. This being at service thing has really shined a light on who I've been. Giving to others while sacrificing our own needs does the world no good. I don't even care if that's not good grammar, it's true.

During one morning meditation I was feeling particularly low and tired. Energy resources were down and I suspect so were the guards that keep me from feeling what I need to feel. I love meditation for that! Just sitting with myself and not talking allowed me to go further into the realm of my being. What came up first was the pain. I've been experiencing searing pain in my upper back for years. It's like a hot poker jabbing my spine. I blame it on my work as a graphic designer. My posture hunched and repetitive clicking of a mouse seems to have left me feeling chronically stiff, immobile and in pain. I have literally hated doing design work because of that pain. What has followed is a rebellion to my profession, work I've built up over 18 years. I quit. I want to be a yoga teacher instead. Now there is no question that my path to become a yoga teacher has changed my life, saved my marriage and brought me into a place of personal power, but did I really need to throw everything else away to get there? With the "I quit graphic design" declaration I also threw away most of my income. My family has suffered because if it. So back to my meditation. Baron's voice was leading me through some very literal physical awareness. There was nothing profound with his words but they were clear, true and said with love. As I reached my burning upper back there was this click, pop, ahhhhhh no pain. What just happened? All of a sudden tears started to flow and the pain was gone. I realized that the pain associated with my work came from my loss of power, my giving up on myself, not believing that no matter what I "do" I can still empower and inspire others.

My friend and mentor Pauline suggested a brilliant plan to help develop marketing tools for yoga teachers. I ran this idea by my friend Julie who is looking to expand her market as a teacher and her eyes lit up and she jumped for joy and thanked me. I was floored. Could my graphic design really help people? Really empower them? Damn I've been so blind! I have access to tools that are out of reach for many. I can help them articulate who they are and what they're up to in a visual presentation. If I can help them get out there and live big then I've been of service.

So what has opened up for me is that I don't need to give myself away in order to be of service. And what's possible is that I can create a giant win win for me, my family and my community both local and global.

My friends, inspirations and supporters at the Yoga Journal Conference Baptiste Immersion Sept 2011

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My name is Erin Anderson, I'm in love with yoga. I found out how to love deeper, live lighter and reach further through yoga. I'm passionate about sharing just that. In order to do that, I created The Yoga Jam Events as a means to elevate spirit, cultivate community and generate abundance. Coming together in play, breath and movement we can make real impact in the world, starting in Kenya with a possibility that knows no bounds. Each Yoga Jam Event donates proceeds to the Africa Yoga Project This blog is dedicated to what I've learned along the way.
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