As you may already know, I had the good fortune of attending a conference in Vancouver a month ago where Eoin Finn, a west coast yogi, spoke and taught several yoga classes. He is an avid surfer, yogi, and blissologist. Eoin founded his blissology movement in 2001 to help serve his life’s mission: “To stay in touch with that deep vibration of Love so that I can be a conduit for it in all I do in life. I want to inspire people to be continuously lit up by this mysterious but powerful force. One of the best ways is to get out in nature and let its beauty fuel you.” I have already talked about the breakthrough I had in my meditation practice during one of Eoin’s classes, and how it inspired me to start this project, but now I want to talk a little more about the impact Eoin’s yoga classes and talk, ‘Following your Bliss,’ had on the way I teach yoga.
In order to follow your bliss, you need to do two things. Do what you love, and feel the vibration of love while you're doing it. To me this seems like a great definition of what it is to be yourself. Seeing Eoin teach yoga showed me that I had found my bliss, teaching yoga, but that I wasn’t following it yet - that I wasn’t truly being myself when I taught.
So, full disclosure... I’m still quite new to teaching yoga. I have taught professionally for about 4 months now. In the beginning, I would get pretty stressed out during my classes just trying to keep my sequences in order and not mess up my lefts and rights. It's doubtful that this nervous energy was lighting up my students, and I surely wasn’t vibrating any love. I quickly realized, after seeing Eoin’s talk, that I was stressing about nothing. The real reason I started teaching yoga was similar to Eoin’s. Ultimately, I wanted to share something with my students; a positive experience of some kind. I now know exactly what that experience is: love, belonging, and transformation.
I now tune into this goal when I first sit down in front of a class. I start by feeling love and belonging, and then teach from this place. I’ve let go of striving for that perfect yoga class. I laugh when I make mistakes and tell my students that I did it to teach them a valuable lesson about perfectionism! My goal is that every student feels embraced, part of a community, and worthy of love. While this may seem like a lofty goal, it was Eoin who demonstrated that this could be achieved with something as simple as a hug, which he had us do at the beginning of every session. Those hugs turned strangers, who I might have been embarrassed to make eye contact with, into individuals I could comfortably laugh in front of, and strike up a conversation with after class. Small acts build communities. Every morning I remind myself of the simple, yet profound, power that we have to affect others. I let this awareness guide my actions throughout the day. Carry this understanding with you throughout your life, share it with others, and you may have just joined Eoin’s Bliss army!
While not every student may be into the hugging thing - for now I tend to reserve it for those special classes where I really know the students in the room - it remains a perfect example of how the smallest act of acceptance, love, and belonging can have a dramatic and positive affect on us as humans. I am so grateful for Eoin’s teachings and highly encourage you to check him out wherever in the world he might be!