The Year in Review 2012

by Melissa West on December 26, 2012

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As we reach the end of 2012 I thought I would reflect back on 2012 of Namaste Yoga and share my insights.

We began 2012 with what was going to be a deep exploration into the ayurvedic doshas but because of an unexpected health challenge that really asked me to question everything this year we toddled along with some beginner classes and even some of my favourite recycled classes from prior to starting filming Namaste Yoga over three years ago. Being hit with migraines at the beginning of 2012 required me to stop and rethink everything, especially my teaching and teaching philosophy. I think my teaching improved because of it. I got really clear on what I wanted to teach and why. I got really clear on what was important to me. And one of the most important classes of my teaching career came out of me this year, episode 120: Breathe, Love, and Let Go. I think I learned to teach even more from my heart this year.

By the end of March, beginning of April I had recovered enough to the point that I was able to start offering series again and so I returned to my love and Hindu Mythology and perhaps not surprisingly as I look back with hindsight to the remover of obstacles, Ganesh and we did a Ganesh series. It was a beautifully warm spring here in Canada and we filmed most of those classes outside. Ganesh taught us about family, honouring parents, discernment, interconnection, cooling, humility and letting go of ego.

This year I got really clear about how I wanted to teach and who I wanted to teach to. I wanted to make yoga accessible. I wanted to keep it simple. We have always been about real yoga for real people. We realized our beginner classes were being watched more than any other classes and so it was time to offer more beginner classes. So we started a beginner series in May and through June and I went back to the basics again – breathing grounding and spinal elongation. Setting intention, tuning into your body, breath, thoughts, emotions, and spirit. Integrating what happened at the end of your yoga practice. The core principles I had learned through Esther Myers and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy.

As I continued my own healing of my migraines I was introduced to Jon Kabbat Zin’s book Full Catastrophe Living and I came across a small list of attitudes for mindful living. It inspired a series of class called “Keein’ it Real Yogi Style where we integrated those ideas for mindfulness into our yoga practice: non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go. What a great series.

And then in September we returned to my love of Hindu Mythology with the Shiva Series. Shiva taught us about endings, letting go, and seeing the divine within.

From the end of November until the end of the year we returned to our mission of keeping things simple and expanding our audience by reaching out to beginners again by starting another beginner series to finish up the year. This time we focussed on one pose at time, pairing them when it made sense: mountain pose and tree pose, bridge pose and shoulder stand, downward facing dog, triangle pose, warrior I and warrior III pose.

So what stands out as I reflect back on 2012? I got really clear on what serves me and Namaste Yoga and it has been what has been our mission all along – real yoga for real people. I took a step back and remembered that it is not about delivering more and more complicated lessons. But making complicated concepts simple for people. And so we offered more beginner classes. And when I did teach about some of my favourite subjects I tried to do so in a way that was accessible, easy to understand and available to a wider audience.

So what does that reveal about our community? We are a community of real people doing real yoga. We are not yoga models or contortionists who can bend ourselves into any position imaginable – we are just real people living our lives who at the end of the day practice yoga to help us feel better in our minds, our bodies, our spirits and our emotions.

Tell me what do YOU want in the next 12 months? Tell me what you’ve enjoyed this past year, tell me what content you would like to see in 2013. Leave your comments below. I love to hear from you. This is your community. You are the reason that we make these videos.

In loving kindness,
Melissa

Year in Review

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