Soon after beginning my Yoga Teacher Training Certification program, I started my Seva Project. About a month after starting my training, I longed for students to practice with and a place with enough space for individuals to comfortably find their expressions of the asanas. In March a friend I had lost touch with randomly asked if I could help her with the yoga studio she was trying to get started. I was honored to jump at this opportunity to teach free/donation based classes in the lovely space under her counseling center.
On March 6, 2017, I offered my first one-hour yoga class in a formal setting. With butterflies in my stomach and a quiver at the back of my throat that was only audible to myself, I successfully guided the participants through pranayama exercises and the first part of our Hatha Flow. This was a truly inspiring experience; as I grew and developed as a teacher, I watched my students become stronger in their individual practices and find courage in other parts of their lives. The time spent teaching at this location has given me the chance to give back to the community without needing anything in return. This was a chance to really offer a class where everyone is welcome regardless of fitness level, yoga experience, age, or even financial status.
Ultimately, I strive to create a welcoming and safe space where a calming and enriching community-oriented practice can be attained. When we step onto our mats, this zone becomes our sacred space where we can draw our awareness to our breath, grounding down through our foundation. I have learned that once I turn my attention to my breath, my gaze moves inward. I have found, and try to share with the yogis joining me in this space, that once our gaze is directed inward, improvement of the self is allowed to happen. We are then able to flow through our practice in the absence of competition, comparison, or self-judgment. In this space, I have been able to experience the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of practicing mindful movement. No matter how busy my schedule gets or my life becomes, this Seva Project continues to teach me to pause, to find my breath, and to discover the stillness. In a world full of doing, it’s important to take a moment and just breathe. Each of us has a light shining from within, and once we take this moment to just be, we are able to harness this energy and find the calm and clarity within us.