I can’t explain to you how much yoga has continued to be such an important part my life. I had the opportunity to stumble upon some yoga classes almost 15 years ago at a Gold’s Gym (yes, yoga finds its home in all kinds of wonderful places). At this smelly, sweaty gym, I found my first yoga teacher. She was beautiful and kind and strong and made yoga accessible to everyone. When I walked into that room at Gold’s Gym to do yoga for the first time, I wanted to be more flexible (and maybe learn how to do a handstand). But what I learned was patience and gratitude.
We all have expectations about the kind of experience we think we should have (in yoga or in life). I guess one of the lessons I’ve learned from yoga (and there have been many) is to not have so many expectations. It’s hard when something doesn’t go the way I expected…a vacation, a job, a relationship. Many people think I’m talking about not trying or having a goal but it’s sort of the opposite. It’s more about finding contentment in the life that is occurring as you are living it. Not making plans for what you think should be happening (based on some expectation). Because then you can also learn how to let go gracefully when something is not bringing you true joy or contentment.
It’s hard. But I keep practicing and I love that I have been able to continue practicing here in Zambia with an amazing community around me. I think about my first teacher and her influence on my practice and teaching. I teach in Zambia at the back of a French school in a very humble space (it isn’t even really an enclosed room but more just a slab of concrete). But you can see the sun setting in the evening and feel the cool breeze in the winter or the intense African heat in the summer! I’m content. We all roll out our mats and breathe together and practice letting go of expectations (and swat away a few mosquitoes here and there).