My Second Dharma Talk

This is the part of class where the instructor does a Dharma Talk .   Now,  for some people a yoga class is all about fitness and exercise.   But for me, the dharma talk is a very  important part of the class.   It can set the tone of the whole practice for me, and it often influences the intention that I set for the practice.

I spent more than a week trying to come up with a dharma talk for tonight.  My intention was to deliver a talk that would inspire everyone and make the newcomers want to come back to yoga.  So, I scoured the internet for inspiration, read the Bhagavad Gita, yogajournal, talked to my friends about it, but up until yesterday I had nothing to say.   I WAS STUCK.

So I started to think about being stuck.  And why do we sometimes feel stuck?   How do we get ourselves stuck?    And how can we get unstuck?

In October, when I first started this teacher training, Kurt (a teacher of mine) was talking about Ganesh in one of his classes.  Ganesh is the Hindu God that looks like an elephant, and he is the Remover of All Obstacles.  Kurt would play the Ganesh Chant in all of his classes.  He said maybe it could help to remove the obstacles in our lives.

I told him, jokingly, I didn’t want my obstacles removed. That I liked them just the way they were, thank you very much.

But it wasn’t really a joke.  I realized I had crafted the obstacles over the years.  The obstacles that held me back, from doing things, from changing things.  Maybe I allowed the obstacles to grow there because they kept me in a safe place.

So I started to seriously think about removing these self-imposed obstacles in my life, and getting unstuck.

Then at the end of December in one of Kitty’s classes,  she did a pose that she called the New Year’s pose.  Standing wide-legged, with arms raised up to the sky,  looking up.    I decided to take this powerful pose and use it every day, along with my new mantra,  “Bring It Elephant!”.

Now,  come on, I know there is no giant elephant in the sky that’s gonna bring me anything.  But the symbolism of the pose and the words together gave me the incentive- and the power- to bring it for myself. I opened myself to change; knowing it wouldn’t all be easy, and it might even be painful,  and I started removing obstacles.   I was going to get my life, my job, my way of thinking, in line with my intentions.

I personally believe that if our actions are really in line with our true intentions, we will not feel stuck.   And if we are stuck, then maybe we should try to figure out how our actions and intentions are not lining up.

So why was I stuck with my dharma talk?  I began to think maybe it was my intention.  And all at once the intention to inspire and to make people want to come to yoga started to sound like a selfish intention, based on ego. So then I changed my intention- to simply trust myself, open my heart, and share some yoga,  and learn from you.  So that is my intention.

Bring your hands to prayer position now to set your intention for your yoga practice tonight.     It can be to practice from your heart, to let go of the obstacles that may hold you back on your mat, to be present on the mat and let everything else go.


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