Resharing this 2011 post from my blog, Soaring with God:
Yoga class is a spiritual (even religious) experience for me, even when I’m working as the teacher. I take it seriously and put my entire heart and soul into it.
For me, the class begins 15-30 minutes before the actual start time – when I enter the room and prepare it for class. I like the room to be a certain way: Everything neat and clean; mats and props stored in their proper places; lights on a dim setting; calming music playing in the background. Creating this kind of “yoga atmosphere” provides a pleasant space for my students to enter and prepare themselves for class.
The door to the room is kept open until the class begins. For me, the act of closing the door is a spiritual experience. It symbolizes the creation of a sacred space where people feel held, accepted, loved – where the heart, mind and soul can expand without interference.
I choose music to inspire without distracting the mind. I use a short meditation (usually a quote from a spiritual master) which is read to the class at the beginning and again in the middle of class. These are intended to help students connect with themselves (and others) on all levels – including the mental and spiritual realms.
As I teach, I have a sense that I’m accessing a universal creativity that comes from God. It’s delicate, subtle and precious. I am filled with awe.
I connect to the peace, love and joy of God and then try to share that with my students. It’s much more than a physical workout. In fact, for me, the physical part is secondary to everything else that’s going on in the class – within myself and within my students.
Toward the end of class, as students are lying in final relaxation, I often find myself spontaneously moved into prayer for them as individual souls. Within my heart, I pray for them and for the world.
We conclude class with a sense of wholeness (I even venture to call it holiness) – and a spoken prayer that as we go out into the rest of our daily lives, we may live our lives from our peaceful, loving, joyful center. For me, that center is God, always with us.