By Margit Bannon, Instructor E-RYT 200, YACEP, and USPTA certified Tennis Professional
Earlier last summer I was confiding in Gwen, a fellow yoga teacher and friend that recently passed. I said to her, “ I feel as if I’m practicing (yoga) as though I’m preparing for something but I don’t know exactly what that is.” I had been feeling this way for months, and although I had many goals for my practice, I felt my preparation was fueled by something greater than I could even explain. In this case, by “practice,” I’m referring specifically to yoga philosophy, the study of self, and meditation. A few weeks before Gwen died, I also confided in her that I felt as if I might be my own greatest obstacle, and if that was true, I was interested in trusting myself and getting comfortable with hearing the sound of my own voice. Afterwards she prescribed me a mantra to dispel fear, without knowing that she had tapped into one of my greatest fears: not living up to my full potential.
Flash forward a few months to me experimenting in teaching with–what might seem frivolous to some–several platforms such as Facebook live and videos on YouTube…To the outside observer it might just seem as if that’s what yoga and tennis teachers do now, but no one knew except for me, that it was all just an experiment on my end. I realized that when I filmed myself, I froze and became a different person. I became self-conscious, and tight in a way that doesn’t happen when I’m in the comfort of a regular class setting, and it really bothered me. Little did I know that this self-practice of “getting over myself” and “accepting myself” was actually preparation for what is happening present day, and that I would need to get comfortable in a hurry if I was to keep in touch with students and stay afloat through this challenging time!
What my students don’t know is that I receive exactly what they hope to gain in coming to take my classes. Cut to the present moment: an opportunity to inspire and be inspired (which is basically all I ever hope for) in these uncertain times that require us to operate day by day, one breath at a time. How important it is, now more than ever, to focus ourselves on the task at hand, enjoy simple pleasures and stay positive when there’s potentially so much to be down about!
I do realize I am one of the fortunate ones, and that is not lost on me. A student asked me the other day, “Aren’t you scared?!” The truth is that I do have concerns, but apart from being as prepared as I can be and making decisions I’m comfortable with in the moment, I try to let the rest go. Not an easy task for someone who likes to plan and control what could happen in the future! And so with that I share that I feel a strange sense of calmness, in this rare opportunity to allow all of this practice come to fruition (there’s no shortage of opportunity, time for the “performance”!) I wish you much peace, perhaps with the ability to spend more quality time at home caring for yourselves and others, perhaps reminding yourself of where you are, one day at a time, one breath at a time…I look forward to seeing you on the other side!
You can keep up with all the Margit does, here at The Yoga Sanctuary and on her court at home, by following her Facebook page, PlayTennis.PracticeYoga.