At my most recent yoga teacher training weekend, our teacher challenged us to find the essence of what drives our commitment to teaching yoga. We were asked to complete a simple sentence: “My name is __________ and I am a commitment for __________.”
The invitation came at a funny time for me. I had traveled to the west coast for a number of business meetings just a few days earlier. A lot of anxiety was involved. In one meeting, my colleague asked me an odd question: “What is your essence?” he asked me. You don’t get questions like that in a business setting very often. It took me by surprise and I said the first thing that came to my mind that felt true: “To help others to feel they are becoming better people.” A little sappy, I know. But it accurately captures what motivates me most right now. It has not always been this way, but for a while now this sense of helping people has been a core driver.
Now, in teacher training, I was being asked to boil it down to one word. I thought. First I wrote down “love.” But the more I thought about that, the less I was happy with it — too vague. Easy to misunderstand.
Finally, the word “inspiration” came to me. I crossed out the “love” and wrote “I am a commitment for inspiration.” That felt right. With that, the exercise was complete and we dove into our yoga practice.
After practice was complete, we sat in a circle and talked a bit more. At one point, we were asked to quickly say what we get out of yoga. First word that popped into our head.
Out from my lips came the word “clarity.” I hadn’t expected to say that. But there it was: Again, it felt right. Yes. Clarity is what I get from yoga.
As the weekend progressed, the two words tumbled through my head. Clarity and inspiration. Neither won the battle for supremacy — they are tied together.
I get — and seek to give — clarity and inspiration from yoga.
Having these two words as guide stars as I practice and as I live life has been illuminating. They give me an anchor in difficult parts of practice. They guide me to the right attitude with which to step onto my mat.
I have tried to unpack each of these words slightly.
- Clarity: In thought, in deed, in word, in intention.
- In seeking to inspire others, we find our own inspiration.
I recognize that I am a work in progress, like anybody else. These guiding words will no doubt shift over time as I grow and change.
But, for now, they work for me.
My name is Brad, and I am a commitment for clarity and inspiration.