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Contributed by Julie Mathers, co-owner of Baptiste Affiliate studio, Evolution Power Yoga .
On an early, cold fall morning, four yogis from Evolution Power Yoga headed off in the dark for a five hour drive to Rochester, NY for Art of Assisting. With a loaded iPod and a trunk filled with mats and blocks, we were on our way to learn how to put our hands on others in their yoga practices. For me, I just wanted to focus on something other than the soap opera in my head. I had resisted this program, thinking I was not “good enough” to assist others (a lie I have listened to for six years). I thought I did not know enough –plus, I don’t need to be “assisted,” so why would anyone else want that?
Spoiler alert: I was totally wrong.
As soon as I stepped foot into the yoga room, I connected with friends from Level One and started to make new connections. As soon as I saw others like me, I felt more and more confident for the weekend. We were all there for the same reason: to become powerful assistants.
The training was more than about adjusting people in their yoga practices; it was about being of service. And it was easier than I thought! The best part of it was if I could practice being of service to others, I could turn that around and be of service to myself. The learning and connection to other human beings expanded upon my recent Level One learning about being with people authentically. As I moved around the room, connecting with everyone’s bodies, they grounded me and I grounded them. I saw that I brought value to them just by being there, even if my assist was to touch their shoulders with my two fingers. More than that, I realized the value I give to others when I accept their service. And, I got that–like yoga and assisting–being of service is a practice.
A school teacher by day, I thought I was of service my whole life. As a mom of three under the age of six, I am always doing for others. However, I realized how my service was with the expectation of a recognition. At Art of Assisting , I learned to do it for others. Period.
Sunday, we finished the training and I left confident, supported, and grateful to have allowed, fun, and connection into my weekend. On the car ride home, the four of us talked through our experiences, joked, and practiced being of service to each other. What started as a weekend of uncertainty if I’d like or be successful at assisting turned into a love of it and being for others, because of the connection it gave me.