We all have creature comforts, even us yoga teachers. Practicing non-attachment is one thing but this urge to be comfortable is another. There is a saying “the asanas begin just as you leave” and this is true in many ways, if we are too comfortable in your self-practice then there is not much motivation to practice outside of this zone. Just as we begin to feel our bodies come to their intelligent edge of our strength and endurance, try and enjoy 10 more breaths here then gracefully release, smile and celebrate the endorphins that are flooding throughout your body.
A few months ago I taught a workshop at the Evolve yoga studio in London and due to my pedantic pitta nature I was early so I decided to pick up a takeaway cup of herbal tea. The herbal tea was not only to pacify my pitta but also to hydrate before teaching a 2.5-hour workshop. I made my way casually into the studio sipping my tea, a few students were already checking in, setting up and arriving and I did the same. It wasn’t until I read a blog post written by Indra (founder of Om Exchange) who had mentioned my cup of tea in her blog post that I realised this innocent cup of tea not only soothed my needs but the needs of another.
She casually sipped from her Cafe Nero cup while introducing herself, allowing the class to settle in. It felt very comfortable, as though we were sitting in her living room as a small group of friends. I don’t know whether it was a coffee or a herbal tea in her cup. But I always feel a bit more relaxed when a yoga teacher arrives in a room with something from the outside world that makes them seem more human. It might sound odd but that particular day it was that cafe Nero cup that ‘broke the barrier’ for me. And as it were, Delamay turned out to be incredibly human & approachable from the onset. Which I love in a yoga teacher! www.omexchange.com
As yoga teachers we have our own ways to ensure our students have everything they need, from props to adequate space and time to thoroughly enjoy their practice. So we are creating a comfortable environment for our students to feel safe, at home and most of all at ease with whatever arises. We may play soothing music which we have listened too a thousand times, burn incense which has become the natural scent of our home or hang our favourite art work on the wall. Whatever it may be, these little things are what make us feel comfortable, at ease and relaxed in order to offer our teachings.
On the rare occasion your creature comfort may be taken the wrong way. For example Obama took some heat recently over his “latte Salute” to the marines as he was stepping off a helicopter! I am sure this was not intended to offend or disrespect any one in any way!
Creature comforts can be material or non-material, positive or negative, habitual or non-habitual. For example, do you always face your mat in the same direction when you teach? Are you ok about using any old mat? Do you teach certain asanas with the same dialogue each time? Is there a favourite poem you quote at the end of each class? Creature comforts are part of our daily routine and guess what? This is ok!
In amongst the busyness of our life we need these comforts to survive. For me this cup of tea was like an unconscious anchor for the workshop, it was not only simply nourishing my body but unconsciously it enabled me to feel at home with its soothing aroma and warming qualities, which instantly relaxed my mind and body. May be a cup of coffee does this for you or a piece of fruit, whatever it may be know that this is part of who you are and we all need a little comforting at times.