Recently my Great Uncle Bud passed away. At 96 years old, he had an amazing run of it. He was one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to know. While we knew this was coming, it still came as a great loss.
At the memorial service, many family members stepped up to give some moving tributes to Uncle Bud. One story stuck with me in particular. Uncle Bud’s daughter spoke about how her parents had created a home that was a safe haven for anyone who came to visit. “It didn’t matter what you’d done or how you were doing, you always felt that you could show up and be loved unconditionally. Their home was a safe place where you knew you’d always be accepted.”
It struck me immediately, “This is like how I feel about Forrest Yoga.” Ana creates an environment within the yoga room where you can feel supported and safe going deep into poses that can also get you deep into emotions. It’s so comforting to know that I can go to Ana’s–or any Forrest Yoga class–and be able to just be where I’m at. Whether I’m wiping away tears or frustrated or even joyfully playing with a challenging new arm balance, I know that I can just walk into the yoga room and fall apart if I need to and still be welcome and accepted regardless. As a teacher, this is what I hope to cultivate in my classes. One of my main intentions in teaching is to have my students to experience my class as a safe haven.
After my class a few days ago, I was chatting with a student who hadn’t been in my class awhile. We talked for a few minutes and then she commented, “You know, I really enjoy your class. Sometimes it really makes me feel vulnerable…but in a good way. I feel safe here to do so.”
This comment made me feel the most proud of anything I’ve done recently. It showed that for at least one student, I am fulfilling my intention. I can’t think of a better way to honor my Uncle Bud then to carry on this part of his legacy.