I had been feeling a bit jaded for a while, as a yoga teacher & practitioner. So, with the help of a couple of friends, I looked back through my life, to see what was my original inspiration for practising & teaching yoga. To re-inspire me.
To be honest, when I stood at the doorway of my very 1st yoga class, way back in my past, I just simply knew that whatever yoga was, & I had no ideas about yoga, that I would be doing it for the rest of my life, & that it was part of my destiny.
So that wasn't an inspiration. But I had physical damage from an incident, & it just was not getting better, even after 3 years. So, I went to my very 1st yoga class, & when I got home, I practised, everyday, a couple of things, whether it was flexibilities, asanas, or pranayama, that I could remember from that class. And every week, I would add whatever else I could remember, in the order that I could remember them. I had a doctors appointment 6 weeks after my 1st class, & the damage had been reversed. My 1st experience of how powerful yoga was.
I did a bit everyday, & I did it all because it made me feel good. This was my first inspiration, for me. That yoga simply made me feel this way. A couple of years later, I started teaching yoga, & that was such a big inspiration, knowing that the class would also make people feel good. All I did was teach exactly what I had been taught, exactly how I had been taught. I figured that if it made an ordinary person like me feel fantastic, then it would also make other people feel the same.
And I don't mean just feeling good physically. No, it's more than that. One feels more emotionally stable & the perception & focus are clearer. The mental chatter & stomach churning switches off. One becomes calmer. What a blessing.
Later that first year of learning yoga, I also learnt off Dr Swami Gitananda who did a humble tour of New Zealand. Specifically, I learnt how to do proper yoga breathing & a comprehensive system for it, plus for breathing problems. It was very precise, & transforming. I experienced, & was inspired by, the powerful effects of prana, & the breath. But this wasn't my biggest inspiration, for myself, nor as a teacher.
Swamiji was adamant that yoga was supposed to make us feel good, &, if it didn't, then you were doing the wrong yoga for you. This is such a wonderful inspiration to keep in mind: teach your students how to feel good via the practices of yoga.
I have spent quite a few years in a situation where the yoga that was being taught was extreme. In every way. We "powered up" with asana, pranayama, bandhas, meditations ..... even the yoga nidra was intense. A lot of people loved it, they liked this approach. I didn't. It created inflammation in me, & made my mind restless & anxious. It was totally against my values with my inspiration for teaching yoga.
I like the calm & sublime results, so even if I teach a very hard class (asanas, pranayama etc)...I also use the final poses & pranayama to slow down to induce quietness. It's a very good approach for a hard class. Then a short relaxation to take one even closer to one's essence. This will make anyone feel wonderful. And it means that I stay true to my original inspiration.