For me, teaching yoga goes beyond the studio. Its about connecting and caring for people. When I learn that someone is a long distance runner, I think about what I needed doing the same things. If I know someone has faced trauma in their lives, how can I make the space comforting and safe? When I know someone has serious shoulder issues or wrist pain, how can I care for them so they feel included? These are all things I have in the back of my mind when I teach. It shapes what I do as a teacher.
But what if I never talked to my students? What if I never interact with them before or after class? I just walk in, do my thang, and then leave. Collect paycheck. Do it again.
That’s just not me. To be honest, I’m not a professional yoga teacher. This is my part-time gig that I just love to do. Its the best hobby I could ever have because it isn’t selfish; it is all about serving others. So if you serve others, a yoga teacher can’t be selfish. They can’t just teach and leave. If you never hear of their problems, how can you address their needs?
I may be in the minority, but I do my best to connect with students. But I am careful to allow friendships to manifest themselves organically. Many students friend me on social media, so I get to see their lives outside of the studio. It brings me such joy to see them. I think that about half my students on social media are now former students. They’ve either moved away, attend other yoga studios now, or have fallen away from yoga completely. But that’s all ok. We are all on this journey of life. Just because they take a different path doesn’t mean they can’t be my friend anymore. And I still find the same joy in their happiness.
Nearly everything in life is fleeting. We can do without most material things if we had to. A close friend of mine lost everything in a fire. It is devastating to have something like that happen. But to have family and friends who care for you; that is priceless beyond measure.
Seek and savor people who enrich your life for the better. Care for each other. Nurture them. Communicate with each other. Be there when they are in need. That’s what friends do.