Holding Space For Others (and For Myself)


You know what’s awesome? Doing something reeeeeally cool for the first time.  It’s especially awesome when that really cool thing is about to become a huge part of your life, and doing it fills you up with so much joy that you are practically bursting at the seams and walking on air upon experiencing it.

That’s how I felt last week when I observed a yoga class for the first time as part of my training.  I felt so validated in my little corner in the back of the room, watching carefully and knowing intuitively which students the teacher would assist, in which postures, what verbal cues he would give and what props he would use to assist them.  I felt confident.

Nearing the end of the class, during final savasana, the teacher approached me with a small bottle of essential oil and asked me to help close the class.  A little nervous, but mostly excited for the hands-on part, I gathered my courage and made my way around the room, touching each person, offering a little traction on their cervical vertebrae and letting them breathe in the essential oil which I had warmed in my palms.

No big deal, right?  I mean what’s so great about walking around to 20-some people and giving a little neck massage, if you can even call it that?  I’ll tell you what.  Here I was, a student myself, with nothing to offer but love, peace, and a little space.  Space for someone’s mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, cousin, teacher, student, doctor, mailman, waitress, dog-walker… to be still, and to find peace.  Looking down at the peaceful faces of each of these people, I imagined their lives off the mat.  Where they were before this class, and where they would go after… it didn’t matter.  They relaxed into my touch and breathed a little deeper, sank into their mats a little more fully – it simultaneously melted my heart and lit a fire inside me.  Who knew I was capable of this, being this vehicle for them, this passive guide?  I instantly wanted to be the one to hold this space for not only these students, but for my loved ones and everyone who crossed my path.  I was moved to tears.

I’m reminding myself of this experience tonight as I pause from the chaos of my day.  Cleaning, packing, working, studying, walking the dogs, more packing, making phone calls to realtors and mortgage brokers, looking at real estate listings, making lunch and dinner plans with friends, prepping dinners for the week, answering emails, setting up appointments, coordinating schedules with Tim to look at property… it seems a never-ending to-do list, and there is just not enough time in the day.  Not enough space for me.

Life is crazy, chaotic, and sometimes it feels like it is all out of your control.  But it all works out.  When I try to think of all the times in my life I have ever been stressed about my present situation, I realize, that period of stress was really just a tiny fraction of my life, and had I had the presence of mind to stop and recognize that it all works out, always, I would have been able to calm down and appreciate the present, live in the moment, and enjoy the experience… much like those yoga students were enjoying their savasana as I held their heads in my hands.

My commitment this week:  Breathe deeply.  Make time for meditation.  Hold space for me and live my yoga off the mat.



One thought on “Holding Space For Others (and For Myself)

  1. Loved reading this. Thanks for starting my day with a smile AND getting me excited for my yoga class tonight! I’m happy for you…I just wish you were my yoga instructor!

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