The Chat – Being Gentle with Oneself featuring Tom Hall

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This edition of your post-class chat is from 5-24-20, after a private handstand lesson I gave to a student who went through my yoga teacher training, Tom Hall.  Fun fact: we share the same last name AND the same birthday.  Obviously, we were destined to be friends.

What Tom addresses here is how he woke up to yoga as a practice of awareness and the need to be gentle with oneself.

The story behind the flower:  we were doing a lab on side plank and Tom was the student I was working on to show the other teacher trainees ways of communicating with their students on how to get in to the pose and how to refine the pose once you are in it.  

Tom was the kind of student who gave his ALL to every single pose and he left every class with a literal pool of sweat surrounding his mat.  His strength was enviable but his determination was unmatched.  However, he was working too hard and was basically struggling AGAINST himself as he held the pose.  He couldn’t hear me when I cued him to be gentle or do less.  He only knew one way of being – giving it your all 100% of the time, regardless of the circumstance.  

I needed to find a way to show him HOW to be gentle so I grabbed a delicate, hand-made paper flower from the desk in the studio lobby and placed it in his hand and told him his only goal is to do the pose without crushing the flower.  He changed in that moment and became a peaceful warrior.  It was profound and beautiful to witness.

What are you struggling against?

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