Do something for me:
Now that we are all on the same page, let me begin by saying…
“Hello. My name is Charlotte, and I will be guiding you through the next 60 minutes of your yoga practice. Let’s get this party started.”
A year ago today marks the first time I uttered this introduction to a small group of beginner yogis at a CorePower Yoga class in Chicago, Illinois. 337 yoga classes later, and this sentence has yet to get old.
I guess I could easily end this cute little blog post right now by telling you, plain and simple, that being employed, creating a sense of routine and, of course, making money were the reasons why I showed up to work in the past year. But then I would be lying.
Don’t get me wrong, the reasons above are real – i.e. how else am I supposed to afford my rent, food and other essential expenses such as the almond danish I gracefully shoved down my throat at the new Le Pain Quotidien cafe? I have to be honest though, these reasons are “farts in a hurricane” compared to the 5,204 reasons why I actually showed up to teach yoga 300+ times this past year.
5,204 measures the number of people who stepped out of chaos and onto their mats and allowed me to guide them through transformation. 5,204 represents the number of physical beings who decided to take one hour out of their day to dedicate themselves to inner peace. 5,204 marks the amount of hearts that beat their way through challenging asanas, or postures like ardha chandrasana (half moon) and hanumanasana (full splits) as 5,204 pairs of lungs expanded and contracted between 5,204 sets of rib cages. Finally, 5,204 is the number of times the greeting “namaste,” which means “I bow to the divine light in you” was repeated as 5,204 torsos bowed forward to their own reflection and to the reflection of those around them.
You see my yogi friends, this is why I teach yoga. I teach so a student like Sam Nelson, a retired Chicago journalist, can start a new chapter in his life as he not only finds breath control through challenging postures like crow pose but also makes the life changing decision to enroll in CorePower Teacher Training at the young age of 70! I teach so a yoga student like Cody Sattler, a professional body builder and a current contestant on ABC’s The Bachelorette, can find peace and stillness before he is faced with the life-altering news of whether Andi Dorfman will or will not be giving him a red rose. On a larger scale, I teach to be a part of something greater than you and me combined. I teach so that my yoga students understand that the minute they leave their mats, their yoga practice begins – whether they are stuck waiting on a stalled train or sitting uncomfortably as they hear unsettling news about a family member being sick.
Of course, I must add that my intention with sharing this large number is not to “wow” you with my “annual achievement.” Rather, I share it to ease your nerves and show you that 5,204 people in the past year have actually taken a conscious breathe within the midst of the inevitable growing pains of their lives. Are you ready for the best part? I am only one single yoga instructor out of thousands. This number just got a lot fatter and sweeter, didn’t it?
I read somewhere once that the word guru can be translated to mean “the light in darkness.” While I have only brushed the surface of my dharma, or “right path,” and I acknowledge that my passion to learn about the ancient practice of yoga has only just begun, my ambition is as follows: That I have been and continue to be the light that illuminates the right path for the yoga students that allow me to guide them through their life and yoga practice. With this said, I want you to do something for me: