“Keep love in your heart.  A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are all dead.” ~Oscar Wilde

This weekend I taught two yoga workshops themed around Valentine’s day.  My intent was to teach the students a little more about the community of yoga and also to help them open up more to the idea of love.  I feel as if I actually left with a fuller heart through teaching than when I arrived.  I hope all of the students felt the same.

When I started yoga back in 2006, I was blessed to find my first teacher, Kara Schmidt.  Although I didn’t get to spend a great deal of time in her classes, I did participate in several of her workshops.  The thing that kept bringing me back to her, aside from the practice itself, was her open and engaging teaching style.  Kara had this wonderful way of including everyone and at the same time making each person feel as if you were her best friend.

She often had us touch each other through partner drills and in opening and closing with our knees and hands touching.  I felt liberated and so connected in her workshops and classes.  To me, the idea of being able to touch other human beings, mostly strangers and still feel secure and safe was ground-breaking.  In her workshops, strangers became friends and through yoga, we connected on a level that we often miss in our daily lives.

Yet here, in Kara’s little community, was an opportunity for strangers to connect in a safe way.  How utterly remarkable and that, my friends, is what hooked me!

In my work life at the time, I felt so disconnected from others.  I longed to connect with those around me in a way that was much deeper than superficial work and pleasantries. Finding Kara’s class and being able to openly engage with others through the practice of yoga and the honesty of it all, was such a blessing during a difficult time in my life.

And so this weekend’s workshop was really an opportunity for me to pay homage and also to channel Kara’s style a little bit by giving back and helping others to experience the awesome power of community and connection.  Granted, most of the participants knew each other already, but I believe that by sharing the beauty of yoga, through a connected practice of providing and giving support to each other, only served to deepen their already established friendships.

Thanks, everyone, for allowing me to help you give and receive the gift of love!