There have been several moments in my life (mostly in the past few years) where I had to ask myself, “why am I here?” The “life purpose” question is a challenging one, and for many many years I felt like I didn’t have a good answer. It seemed to me that everyone ELSE knew exactly what they should be doing and were happy doing it!
What I have discovered by turning my life upside down a few times is that what I’m really called to do is teach. Although health and wellness is my passion, I have also taught things like user experience (software) design. By the end of this year, I hope to have my TOEFL certification to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Whether it’s one-on-one in a coaching session or a workshop, I love sharing what I know. I pride myself on explaining to people the why behind what I’m teaching, sharing my personal experience to make it more relevant to their lives, and making learning interactive, memorable and fun.
One of the fabulous things about teaching health and wellness-type workshops is that I get to see how WIDELY useful and applicable the (especially) yoga-based techniques can be. But wait, isn’t this post talking about our individuality and uniqueness?
Exactly! Here’s what I mean: I recently taught the Meditation Sampler workshop (stay tuned for another offering). In this workshop we talk about what meditation is (like yoga, it can be a pretty confusing term these days), why we do it, and openly address the challenges we might face when starting or maintaining a meditation practice. And THEN…we talk about (and sample) different methods of meditating.
Here’s what typically happens that’s so awesome to witness: I lead one style of meditation for a couple minutes. When I’m finished and I ask the group how it went, Person A absolutely loved it; he sunk right into a peaceful experience and found it easy. Person B, sitting next to person A, absolutely hated it. She couldn’t sit still, she couldn’t keep her focus, etc. etc. Person C might think it was so-so. But by the time the participants have left the room, everyone has at least one style of meditation they feel is do-able, and which suits them!
Sadly this happens with yoga (asana) classes in the other direction: often I’ll hear about someone who “can’t do yoga” because they tried a hot power Vinyasa flow class their first time out, and hated it, so they never went back. That just makes me sad! But I get it: we feel like we tried and it didn’t take, and sometimes we don’t even know there are alternatives (such as Hatha, Restorative, Gentle, Yin, etc. for yoga).
What this teaches me–as a teacher–over and over again is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to health and wellness. At the very start, we are all uniquely awesome! And even though our needs change as we change (i.e. grow older, have different physical / mental / emotional capabilities and limitations, etc.), we are still uniquely awesome. We just require something different, and we have to be willing and open to exploring that. (It can even be fun if we let it!)
I think one of the things I love so much about teaching and coaching is helping people discover what they need at any given point in time. Of course seeing them grow and change in the direction they want to go is rewarding, but it’s those moments of insight and “oh, I can do this!” that are just plain gold.
Is there something health-related (or anything really!) that you gave up on because it didn’t feel right the first time? Did you look into any alternatives? Were you open to exploring variations? Or did the baby go out with the bath water? Is there an activity or practice worth giving another look?