I awaken early, to pray for my students - and for myself - as I prepare - not only for the last class of the session - but my last class after teaching on Saturday mornings for 9 years. It is a bittersweet moment - but as a therapist friend reminded me recently - the number 9 is symbolic of completion.
I pray that I may say whatever my students need to hear - and offer in my teaching - whatever meets their needs on this day.
Traditionally, on the last class of the Fall season, I do a three part class of about 30 minutes apiece: A Yin practice, a restorative practice, and a mini - Yoga Nidra. During the first two parts I read my students spiritual poetry as they surrender their bodies and restless minds into longer holdings of forward bends and restorative poses. They let go into the embrace of the Season and all that it invites in all of us.
Yoga Nidra means "yogic sleep." It is a type of progressive relaxation that can leave one just as refreshed as if one had slept for hours. When combined with regularly setting an intention, it can be a powerful tool for transformation.
While there are many books and CD's out there, my favorite one is by the musician Steve Wolf, entitled, "Relax Deeply." It is available through Amazon, and it is the one I use in my classes.
It was the perfect day of giving and receiving. After all, the best gifts in life - (as a card I received on my birthday reminded me) - are not things - but are the intangibles in life - the love of family and of friends - and the experiences of companionship, compassion, health, joy, and eternal bliss.
I invited my students to continue deepening in their practice. There would always be a little of me in their yoga - just as there would always be a lot of them in mine. We had been teachers and students to one another at various times. We had both at times, given deeply and received what is truly beyond measure and ultimately priceless - the experience of Union in the Divine.
To all my students - past and present. I bow to you. You have honored me with your yoga.