Is she talking to me?
Yoga teachers hear this a lot: "It felt like you were talking directly to me!"
Or: "The class was exactly what I needed...how did you know?!!"
How is this so consistently possible in a room full of sweaty individualists??
At the risk of sounding trite; It's the yoga. Not a clarivoyent yoga teacher.
Yoga was "designed" to give us mere humans a tool box to help us out with the hard stuff. No matter where you come from, geographically, culturally, class, race, lifestyle, we all struggle with the same basic shit.
This has been true about humans since time immemorial.
Patanjali, arguably the definative word on the philosophy and foundation of the popular vinyasa method of yoga, says it this way:
The inherent obstacles all humans struggle with can be summed up in the five kleshas,
ignorance, ego, desire and its antagonist aversion, and fear.
Ignorance or perhaps lack of awareness, keeps us stuck in the same rut. We cling to the comfort of sameness, our steadfast beliefs, our patterns and habits of living and relating. Its so hard to see these patterns unless someone or something shines a mega watt light on them. Not all patterns are bad either, not all habits bad. But how can you tell, really, unless you do a good deal of objective self study? Or lots of good therapy.
Ego, well we all know this one. I think maybe this is the hardest one to untangle. There are times when the ego is your best offense, and sometimes the only defense to life's harder moments...the ones we need to lean into. But it does present a difficult problem to our progress. It gets in the way of our ability to learn from our failures, our stumbles, our screw ups. We all KNOW these are the best lessons, but really, how hard is it to actually be humble and open, not wounded and hurt and shameful when we mess up?
Desire...now don't worry. This is not about deterring you from an active sex life, that's another sutra ;), but knowing full well that we humans love to love what we love. We move towards that feel good moment. Seek it out. Try to recreate it over and over again. Often when part of us knows full well the pending and inevitable bad results.
Aversion. We also avoid what we don't like. Akward, uncomfortable moments. That phone call you'd rather not. Going alone to a party. Taxes...right? You get the picture. These aversions are inevitable and unavoidable. If you could somehow get an accurate statistical analysis of the uncomfortable moments in life compared to the awesome, "I love this" moments, I think we'd see that we spend a ton of time in our life being uncomfortable.
Fear. I don't think this needs much explanation. Its woven into the fabric of life, even the fabric of our culture. Its a trigger, a dependable button, regularly utilized to manipulate and have power over you and your decisions. Patanjali talks about fear of death, which is the big one, but fear and anxiety are so common, not isolated to when you are in mortal danger.
Yoga is meant to stir up the pot. Enough so that these surface occasionally. Combine this with a synergistic and catalystic mix of breath, movement and concentration practice. We end up noticing more stuff. Good and bad. Yoga has no investment in making us happier or more blissful. Thats up to us. That might happen after a lifetime of regular practice of looking and listening and getting out of our heads enough and into our breath and body enough to do some serious self study. But no guarantees or money back refunds.
So that maybe:
The ignorance is a bit less dense.
The ego doesn't always drive the bus.
We don't always have to get what we want and thays actually okay with us on occasion.
We practice being more comfortable in our discomfort.
We acknowledge fear but lean in anyway.
Yes, I was talking to you...all of you...always. It's the yoga.