Have you ever looked at a map in a mall? The first thing you do is look for the “You Are Here” arrow. That is the inspiration for my approach to teaching yoga… You Are Here.
You Are Here in the mall map orients you to where you are located relative to everything else. It gives you key indicators as to where the stores, washrooms and coffee shops are. You can set out on your shopping journey with assurance that you will get to your destination. When you arrived at your destination you may want to go somewhere else. You consult the closest mall map – and behold- “You Are Here” appears again. You are in a different place – a new Here.
This is a metaphor for life. You Are Here because you cannot be anywhere else. You can plan a journey towards a destination. Hopefully you get there and that becomes your new You Are Here. Even if you take a tangent and do not arrive at your originally planned spot, You Are Here. This is the essence of the yoga concept of Mindfulness – of living in the present. It is an awareness of where you are. By doing so you are not living in the past or the future, but engaged in the moment of today.
You Are Here in four states; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. The whole of these states define Who You Are. As with most examples in nature, each state has a duality aspect – a Yin and Yang – a positive and negative side.
At any time, You Are Here in various aspects of your states. Each state aspect affects your other states since we are an integral whole. The key is to be aware of which aspects of the states you are in and decide where you would like to do – continue, stop it or start moving to another.
Let me explain, you may feel emotionally angry. If you are aware of your anger, you may see how it affects your mental state because your judgement may be off. It affects your physical state by increasing your stress hormones. It may affect your spiritual state because you are disconnected. No matter what your state aspects though – You Are Here with Who You Are.
Practicing yoga is one way to achieve awareness of your states and which aspect your are in. Yoga brings you into the present where You Are Here. Then you can decide where you want to go.
My approach to teaching yoga follows this principle. Yoga practice starts with focus on your physical state. I use the S4 Variables approach to each practice. I ensure that each session addresses:
- Stability, and
Combined, the S4 Variables are needed for overall good health. In any one class, I add focus on one S-variable for emphasis.
With the physical practice, you become aware of where you are. Now that You Are Here, you can choose to become aware of where you are in your other states. Since all the states are connected – you become aware as a whole – in other words, Who You Are.
When I teach a yoga class, I look upon each student in their You Are Here state – it is where you are today. We begin Here. It is up to you to choose a journey to a new state of Who You Are and a different place… a new Here.