Monkey see, monkey do…         

So, leadership is a hot topic these days.  Everywhere you look in bookstores, classrooms, even on blogs it’s being talked about.  How to be a leader, how to encourage leadership, what type of leader do you want to be.  It makes me wonder, is there a set Webster definition of leadership that we all need to follow, or is it more yogic; fluid and unique?

*Hmmm…big question.

*Hmmm…big question.

Of course, being the one who loves anything yogic, I tend to hope the definition of leadership is the latter, one that fluctuates depending on the individual and circumstances, and that true leaders aren’t always found at the front of the pack.  And even more so, that sometimes it’s totally cool to be a follower.   My Dad has this saying that if you aren’t the lead dog, the view never changes.  Perhaps this is true, but also, where would the lead dog be if she didn’t have others helping her pull the sled.

*really they all look pretty happy.

*really, they all look pretty happy.

This is what I have learned from being both a teacher of, and way more so a student of yoga classes.  Sometimes it is great to lead, but also sometimes it is really awesome to follow.  This speaks a bit perhaps to our sometimes warped definition of success.  There can be this pressure to feel as though you need to know it all, be it all.  As a friend once said the journey is good, but sometimes I want the guided tour.

*looks like peace and grooviness on this guided tour

*looks like peace and grooviness on this guided tour.

In my early years of teaching, I actually found it really hard to be a student in a yoga class.  My trick, which I love that I’m confessing this publicly, was to go to yoga classes where they didn’t know me, didn’t know I was a yoga instructor.  Oh, young Cara-Lynne.  There were two big flaws in this plan, one is hands down that I love the instructors at Beyond and Blue Bamboo, every class I attend takes me somewhere new and cool; and two, how un-yogic of me.

The thing about yoga is every time you step on your yoga mat, you are a leader for the most important person in your life, yourself.  Sure, if you are at a yoga class there is a guide suggesting where you should go, what you should try.  But truthfully, you get to choose it all.  You get to decide what works for you, and what doesn’t.  What you want to try and when you want to use a prop or support.  And just a quick word on props, supports or even followers…Where would leaders be without them?

*technically the leader of the chess board, would lose every time without his supporting cast.

*technically the leader of the chess board would lose every time, without his supporting cast.

The truth is, that magic that happens with a great yoga class, that feeling of wonder, strength, contentment, as much as I would like to take credit, really…it’s all you.

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