Service is the Highest Form of Yoga

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of my favorite poems is by Ralph Waldo Emerson “…to know even one life has breathed easier, because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.” These words are a guiding force in my life. As the physical part of my yoga practice has deepen, so has the spiritual. I believe we are all interconnect, each of us a single thread in an incredible tapestry. The Sanskrit definition of yoga means “union”. In the physical practice of yoga, it means union of breath, body and mind.  In the spiritual practice, it means union with the divine, the life force that exists in each of us.  We acknowledge this every time we say namaste to each other. 
As a teacher I want my students, not only to be fit and flexible, but also to live their lives with a sense of overall well-being. So part of my practice as an instructor is to serve, with compassion. I try to make myself accessible, approachable, to listen without judgement, and help whenever I can, even if it’s a hug and a smile. I believe we rise by lifting others. If we are all connected, then if you’re ok, I’m ok, that’s how it works.
A big part of why I am this way, is because of the example my family gave me. Growing we did not have a lot of money, although I never felt it, because they made sure I had everything I needed. My father had skipped town early on and my mother barely made ends meet. Thankfully my grandparents we’re instrumental in raising me. Nevertheless, my family was always helping others. Always. There was never a time I can remember when they were not doing something for somebody, which they still do to this day. It made my world feel rich, abundant, regardless of any material possession.
Recently a friend gave me this One Person Can Make a Difference poem (read below) on my birthday. I held back tears, truly that someone would think of me when they saw this.  Then I remembered my mission statement. It helped remind me what I was capable of, and why I started this journey.  I am not perfect, far from it. The layers of struggle I’ve had to work through, sometimes by my own design, rivals the best of them. Nevertheless I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, because service is the highest form of yoga. Namaste.

 

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