I’ve been thinking a lot about personal responsibility– especially with regards to my yoga practice and the yoga that I teach. Injury is serious, especially in advanced yoga classes. Everyone knows someone who has hurt themselves. Ryan Leier, one of my dear teachers, talked about this the last time he was here in Vancouver: “I’m not going to talk so much about your kneecaps, because I trust that you all know what to do with them”. That trust is vital because it empowers me be conscious and honest within my own practice.
But I’ve been talking about kneecaps in my classes– maybe too much.
Yoga is a tool for me to practice taking responsibility for myself. On my mat I reconnect with who I am and with who I want to be. Yoga gives me the strength and the peace to go out into the world and live the life I want to live. I think that most people who stay with their practice do so because it teaches powerful lessons about personal responsibility. The practice of yoga allows us to be honest and to be present– to take responsibility for our actions and our thoughts.
But yoga teachers do have an enormous responsibility to their students. They are responsible for providing a safe environment and finding a balance between challenging students and protecting them. Ultimately it’s up to each individual to take responsibility, both physically and emotionally. Yoga is intense– it brings stuff up and can be hard on the body if we’re not careful. So each yogi needs to take responsibility for themselves every time they practice.
I feel so lucky that my yoga practice teaches me how.