A few months ago I was talking to my friend, Derek, about Yogilateral, about how it came to be what it is right now. He teaches yoga and Pilates in a couple of different studios and he asked me one day how it came to be that I teach so many different kinds of classes, in so many different places and the question totally stumped me. I really had to think about it and when I did answer he found my response totally hilarious- in my ignorance, I knew no better.
Somehow, the simple idea of getting my diploma and applying to yoga studios for a job never occurred to me. I didn’t realise that what I was doing was unusual. In fact, it seemed only natural to me to follow through on the path that yoga put me on in the first place- one of curiosity, of discovery, of feeling weak and then experiencing empowerment, of taking control of my own life in a positive, healthy way. I hadn’t decided to leave my old life behind, one in which I was totally dependent on the validation and approval of others, only to engage back into a cycle of employment, dependence and acquiescence. Over the recent years I really came to know myself, and in learning that I knew the kind of work I wanted to do, the message I wanted to bring to people, the discoveries I wanted to help them make. Don’t get me wrong, my sentiment wasn’t ‘fuck the establishment’, not at all, the vast majority of yoga studios do amazing work and have an amazing ethos and I’ve worked here and there in several. I suppose I just didn’t want to be restricted in what I can do and where I can go. I love my nursing home classes, I learn far more from them than they do from me, and I get to have an experience week in week out that I would not be able to have in a studio. Putting together a programme and reaching out to them has been one of the highlights of the last few years for me. Likewise in other class situations where it’s of benefit to my clients for me to be flexible (no pun intended) in terms of where I can meet them and what sort of class I can provide, being able to bring my own ethos, vibe, personality and style to them is invaluable. I know very quickly after meeting a group or an individual what it is they need and who they need me to be, being my own captain allows me to give that to them, to be what they need and bring them on the journey they are looking to go on. Instead of following someone else’s plan, I get to follow my instinct and go where my gut takes me. That is, essentially, what Yogilateral has given me; I have total freedom to take yoga in any direction I please- which is, every direction.
I truly believe that there is no one who cannot benefit from yoga and I get to actually test that theory on a daily basis. My youngest student was three and a half, my oldest is ninety-seven, and it really didn’t occur to me that bringing yoga to these people was unusual. In my total ignorance entering the yoga world as a professional, I had no idea where the boundaries were and (typical Clodagh) instead of trying to find out, I guess I just made it up as I went and followed my gut. When something feels right to me I know it and not listening to that leads to bad things- on the flip side, following my instinct generally leads me to some good stuff. I learnt that from yoga, by the way. Like learning to ride a bike, you have to have the courage to look up from that front wheel, to lift your head and look out in front; and then you find your balance. A lot of us learnt that when we were pretty young and probably haven’t thought about it since. Yoga taught me that all over again as an adult; if you are focused on your feet you will wobble, but, if you have enough courage to lift your head and cast your gaze out in front of you, your body will find it’s centre. In life, if we can just be brave enough to listen that gut instinct and follow it, cast our gaze out ahead of us, everything around us will work to bring us stability, to keep us on the right path. Instead of our focus being narrow, our attitude one of fear, suddenly our perspective has totally shifted, our view is expansive, and in trusting our feet to take us where we are looking instead of where we are, we come to amazing things. Yogilateral is my Big Amazing Thing, my fantastic accident. In life some of the best things seem to come out of nowhere, and they come all of a sudden. What freakin’ magic it is to see a beautiful thing when it is in front of you and to totally relish it. When I get stressed or bogged down, I remind myself that something beautiful is happening in front of me and I’m too busy looking at my feet to see it. I’m busy and I’m scared, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be brave.
So there’s you’re full answer, Derek! Derek is great, he inspires me all the time. I’m sure you will hear more about him. You’ll hear about all my friends, I don’t have many but the ones I do have are angels.
Namasté, yogis, grá x