What most people don’t realize is that when you are a yoga teacher you’re kind of a “show pony.” (My job is to bring the positive and perceptive vibes always, especially when the students have shelled out a lot of money or have flown from another country to attend a workshop). The good news is that I love studying what I call “unconditional joy” and “unconditional clarity.” They are like muscles that I’ve exercised so that I can reach inside myself and bring forward my best self, even if I haven’t slept or I just got news from the doctor that I’m dying (seriously I taught 3 classes after I got that horrible false alarm). I never had to fake joy. I love teaching and I got strong at immersing myself in thoughts of the present moment and in considering how I can make that moment better for the people around me. My be present and joyful muscles were really strong. But I tore those muscles after overuse during my last six months in Asia.
Because I was leaving I said yes to everything. It was a fascinating time where I had to be firing on all cylinders always. For example after a morning of teaching 5 private lessons where I learned about students who were coping with domestic violence, poverty and corruption I would walk right into 3 back to back classes ready to rock and roll with my groups of 30-50 students. Then after classes I’d have catch up drinks with a friend- it was completely nonstop!
I would teach all day, sleep on a plane to wake up in a new country and be ushered straight into teaching my next workshop. I got a real rush from it all. I love pushing my limits and I wanted to soak in every bit of life that I could for those last few months.
My guess was that after arriving in Denver I’d get the flu or something. I knew I was due to crash… But instead of the flu, for the first time in my life I got depressed. I was heartbroken. I woke up sad everyday missing my students- my crew, my life. I didn’t want to start again. My heart was still over there.
During my first few weeks in Denver I gave myself permission to be sad. The sadness led me to feel selfish and ungrateful because my present life in Denver was quite lovely. Intellectually I was grateful but emotionally I was tapped out. My “unconditional joy muscles” were exhausted. I just try and count my blessings and watch while the heaviness slowly passes.
Still I’m glad I seized every opportunity. This backlash was worth it. “Tis better to have loved and lost.” Now I’m in the process of rebuilding my happy muscle. Give me another few months and I think it will be back and stronger than ever.