Recently while emailing an old friend I found that he and his wife use the same term that I often use. I use it for myself, but I often use it in class. We’re all broken. And it struck me as funny because I didn’t think that the statement itself is so ubiquitous, but certainly the sentiment is.
We all have our failures, our struggles and our undoings. Now, perhaps in this age of cyber vomiting it seems more obvious than ever before. We’ve seen Brittany’s meltdownS, we know where Robert Downey Jr. has spent much of his adulthood, we see it publically spewed and, it feels,continuously spewed. And while the media likes to have it’s darlings we know that their lives are probably just as riddled with pain, suffering and insecurities.
But do we really recognize it on a personal level? Do we really have compassion for the bitch that got our promotion. Do we wonder if she’s happy in her marriage? Or what she thinks of herself when she looks in the mirror? Do we remember that we’re all broken then?
In class I often mention that we’re all broken. I don’t think you can hear it enough. It reminds me to cut myself some slack, it reminds me it’s not important what the struggle is, but rather how I deal with it. I endeavor to deal with grace and dignity, more often it’s screams and anger or tears, but I keep the grace and dignity thing in my head as a reminder.
I also think we can’t be truly kind, loving and accepting until we find compassion for ourselves. So, I keep cutting myself slack, and strive towards grace all the while understanding that I need my own love more than anyone else does.
I think my job is about being broken. I am a yoga therapist. I teach yoga. I teach people to heal. I teach people to open their hearts and be honest and authentic and to embrace grace, dignity, light and love.
I have often been shy about saying what I do because with all the years and years of studying and teaching and practicing I still feel unqualified. Because to be a yoga therapist you must have medical knowledge, you must minister to people’s spirits, you must be part therapist, nurturer, drill sergeant and teacher. And I so often feel I fail. I feel foolishly inadequate to teach what I know without boring my students, to offer gentleness to those who push too much and a challenge to those that need to learn that they are capable. At the end of every class or session I wonder if I’m really worth the money and time and effort I ask of my students.
There is one part of my job where I know I’m terrific. I know that for a short while I can help you sink into yourself. I can make you forget the rest of your day. While you stretch, lengthen and expand I will help you release, forget and focus. I can help you find that peace and relaxation and gentle, loving-kindness with yourself that we all need.
My job is to help people feel a little more whole, a little less broken. People lack connection and it’s makes being broken harder. Yoga helps people feel connected-to the universe, to each other and it helps one make connections easier because the heart is open.
If I can make people feel a bit more whole they can go out there and take that positive change and pay it forward. I happen, at the moment, to teach a lot of teachers and I think that every time I start a class. I think that perhaps my class will make them have a little more kindness and compassion with their students, a little more patience and ease in their classroom. Maybe the poses that help concentration will help them be more clear and concise. Maybe they will walk through their day a bit taller and stand proudly in their skins.
But even with all those wonderful things on our side, we’re still broken. And it’s okay. It’s better than okay.
I look in the mirror at my almost-40-year-old-face and I think that all the pain and hardship has made that woman wise, bright, kind and loving. And a kind of simple confidence comes from it. I stick my tongue out at her, I scrunch my nose up, and I smile at her.
Because I’m broken.