By Victoria Lynes/Atmabir Kaur
“The attitude of gratitude is the highest way of living, and is the biggest truth, the highest truth.”
My youngest yoga student is 16 months old. My oldest is 97years. I often have to pinch myself. How can a bubbling, full feeling of gratitude not be expressed here! Each and every day that I step out of my humble house, armed with either a bag full of beanie babies (breathing buddies!), a new chair yoga sequence for my seniors, or a Kundalini Yoga teaching manual for a studio or corporate class, I give grateful thanks that I have the opportunity to share the transformational benefits of yoga and meditation with students from every age and every walk of life.
When I first decided a few years back that teaching yoga and meditation was what I wanted to do full time, for a living, I had many periods of intense doubt and days when I thought it would never be possible. But I also had countless days of unbridled enthusiasm and motivation. But starting a grass roots business is a lot of work! It’s been very demanding—putting myself out there day after day, sending out countless proposals, connecting with people, offering free classes, travelling the entire city, dealing with rejection, self-promotion, and cold calling. But I realize now that I love it—all of it!
“If you appreciate your life, if you appreciate your job, if you appreciate yourself, if you appreciate your surroundings—poor or rich, whatever they are—you are divine.”
I love my work teaching weekly Kundalini Yoga and Meditation classes at the Yoga Centre, connecting with friends and students, and supporting those in Teacher Training. I feel privileged to be able to guide students through different types of Kriyas and Meditations each and every week. I love teaching from my home studio for some of the same reasons. We share weekly yoga, laughs, wellness tips and tea, making friends and creating community.
While I truly am blessed with all the work I do, it is teaching in the community that often brings me the greatest fulfillment and the most profound feelings of gratitude. Taking Yoga and Meditation to people that may not otherwise experience it is incredibly rewarding.
Teaching an after school class to exhausted, overworked teachers, I see the release and the calming of their nervous systems, and I feel so satisfied when hearing their gentle healing sighs as they come out of relaxation.
Teaching a prenatal class to very young Mums and catching a glimpse of the start of a real connection to their unborn child through breath, gentle movement and stillness; and sharing simple meditation techniques in a lunch time corporate session to those normally hunkered down under the weight of deadlines and reports—these are also exceptionally rewarding. It is always my wish when I leave a corporate class, that one day all employees in every corporation will be given access to meditation, paid for by their companies, on a daily basis, so they can access it whenever they need to.
Making my way to the top floor of an exquisitely decorated seniors’ residence, and sharing chair yoga and Kirtan Kriya with my 90+ year old students, I learn so much about life on these days and I am always so very humbled when I leave.
My days of teaching to toddlers and preschoolers are some of my happiest. Engaging them in stories and song, jumping about with them, moving into their raw and unhindered energy is incredibly freeing (and sometimes exhausting)! I feel immense gratitude when I instruct them to lie down, breathing buddies on their bellies and watch them as they become still, listening to Snatam’s kids’ version of the Long Time Sun. Pure bliss. I leave these classes lighter, more in the moment, and drive away wondering how I got so lucky to call this “work” and these places in the community my “office.”
Bringing my school program into both private and public elementary schools to bright, openhearted kids who seem to fall so naturally into yoga, and Introducing the concept of meditation to these minds of the future; holding up a jar of water and dirt, shaking it, then making it still, giving them the visualisation of how we can settle our thoughts by breath and stillness…how can one not leave a class like this feeling great—and full? Grateful.
I have occasionally wondered about whether I should “pick a specialty”—choose a demographic group and focus solely on that. But this would take away from the richness of my days. To work with souls whose journeys are just beginning, then the next day work with souls who are readying for departure, is a profound lesson in the human condition and a wonderful study on the nature of life and happiness.
“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”
~ H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama
Some weeks I may teach more than 15 classes. I never tire of one of them. I have arranged my work life so I can be present and available to my 2 growing sons and the other demands of my life. I make my own hours for the most part, managing my own time. I answer only to my (higher) self. Sure, I do not qualify for sick leave or a work pension. My humble income may not allow me to retire to the Greek Island of Sifnos (a dream!) when I am 60, or travel overseas with my family every year, but that’s okay. I am content. I am content with having less stuff. I cannot imagine a “traditional” work life anymore. And I certainly cannot imagine a work life where I am not in the business of reaching out to others and exposing them to the gifts of healing, neutrality and happiness.
Everyone can benefit from yoga and meditation, especially those that tell me they don’t have time for it. On the few down days where I feel that I am getting nowhere, or when a program I have worked hard to develop and proposed countless times is not being responded to, I have to keep telling myself that I am not trying to sell something to people that they do not need—like make-up, Tupperware or a new magazine subscription. I am in the business of stress-relief, vitality, awareness and healing. Those that are ready for it, come. And Your Own Path Yoga and Meditation continues to grow, not just in the number of classes offered, but more importantly in the progress and strength of all the students involved.
For this I am truly, truly grateful.
“May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart. May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul. May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work. May your work never weary you. May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement. May you be present in what you do. May you never become lost in the bland absences. May the day never burden you. May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises. May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected. May your soul calm, console and renew you.”
Victoria Lynes/Atmabir Kaur is an Internationally Certified KRI Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Level 2 Radiant Child Yoga Teacher, and IKYTA/YA Member. “When I discovered Kundalini Yoga several years back, I resonated instantly with this powerful and profound practice. Having a busy life and being a mother of 2 growing boys, I was astounded at how a sense of peace, neutrality and strength quickly permeated so seamlessly into my daily life with the regular practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation.” www.yourownpathyoga.com