Being a stay at home mom is a little like being in the Flintstones. You know, when Fred and the gang are peddling the car barefoot and the background keeps looping through the same scene over and over again. There are naps, diaper changes, feeds, play times and short excursions. In this mom and baby version of Groundhog Day it’s easy to keep putting one foot in front of the other without asking the big question, “why am I doing what I’m doing?”
The Why question is super important in the world of baby. Babies are always changing and when the answer to “why am I doing this?” goes from “I’m making our lives better” to “I always do it this way” there’s probably a better action that could be taken. Of course this internal call and response sort of questioning doesn’t just go for baby raising, it is applicable to your work place, your social life, and (ah ha!) even your yoga.
This week in my fantastic teacher training at East Side Yoga, Why was one of the first questions Julie Peters asked us to ponder. It showed up throughout the course. Why are you putting that pose in your sequence? Why did you select that piece of music? Why did you choose to demo your poses (or not)? Being a yoga teacher is all about knowing the why.
Knowing the why is one thing, but interpreting the answer is where you really get to the heart of it. In the case of the yoga teacher, what if your answer to “why am I teaching this way” IS “this is what my students want”? When people-pleasing is a teacher’s motivation for class content they could be sacrificing authenticity, conscientious sequencing and the gift to inspire, all because they are basing their decisions on what it is they think their students want. As a student, I’ve taken classes that have seemed insincere and all over the place. I hazard to guess that some of those teachers were trying so damn hard they had forgotten their true Why. My favourite teachers are those who are incredibly passionate about everything they bring to the table. Even if I don’t know what their Why is, I feel the cohesiveness and inspiration they bring to the class and it allows me to revel in the moment.
Julie recently wrote about the trials and tribulations of people-pleasing as a yoga teacher in her blog post Please Yourself: Leave People-Pleasing to the Bee Gees. If you have an affinity for Wayne’s World (and who doesn’t?!) it is a must read.
But hey, it’s not just the teachers who have to dig deep, us yoga students definitely can’t get off scott free. We constantly need to be asking, Why? Why did we come to class today? Why are we pushing our body so hard when what it really needs a child’s pose? Why do we care what this pose looks like to everyone else? Why are we going to the full expression when we couldn’t do the last step? There are a lot of whys as a student.
Whoever you are, yoga student, yoga teacher, or other type of life experiencer, if you have a place in your life where you are simply putting one foot in front of the other, maybe ask yourself “what is my motivation?” Is your self propelled caveman car heading in the right direction? Maybe it is. Maybe you’ll find that you are doing everything for all the right reasons. How awesome is that? Or maybe, your path needs a little tweaking. Maybe its time to dig in your heels (that’s slamming on the breaks in Flintstone) and get on the right road. Maybe that means making something different for breakfast. Or maybe it’s bigger, like career bigger or even how you treat people bigger. You won’t know until you ask.