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Natural Awakenings Bucks and Montgomery Counties PA


Jun 30, 2021 08:18PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer

As most know, I have spent minutes, hours, weeks, and years on my yoga mat. The mat has been my place of redemption, clarification, acceptance, power, and surrender. My mat has seen all sides of me, all versions of me and most certainly all emotions of me. My mat has endured struggle, tears, moments of absolute joy and moments of contemplation. 

As I grow older, what I realize is that my mat has become my cherished friend, possibly even considered a family member. I am attached to my mat; it is sacred to me, and I care for it accordingly. It is my aspiration that others develop this special relationship with their mats as well. 

As a yoga instructor for the past 16 years, it has been my role to encourage, inspire, motivate, challenge, accept and offer a place of peace for my students. I have taught in studios, in football stadiums, in hockey arenas, in corporations, outdoor, indoor, rooftops, beaches, schools, public parks, in the middle of the street, in homes and most recently our favorite (and thankful past-time) ZOOM. These experiences have shown me that my role goes beyond introducing asanas or shapes to people. My influence on people may have been far reaching or fallen upon ears not yet ready to go deeper; yet I have always remained true to my own mission or dharma which is to share energy. Sharing energy cultivates connection which creates community which ultimately encourages love of self and of others who share in a common desire to be part of “something”. This “something” happens on the mat.

   When one first graduates as a ripe 200 RYT Yoga Instructor, one is often influenced by their teacher and may try to emulate the teacher whom they respect. The natural progression or evolution for the teacher who also continues to be the student (something that is of utmost importance to me) is to find their own words of expression, their own method of teaching, their own platform to share in the best way that maintains an authenticity of their offerings. We ultimately find ourselves as teachers and
grow comfortable in our own skin. We mature and reach a point in our career where we know what we offer, how it can change or affect others and step onto our mats with confidence, command of a room and a security that only comes with age and time. 

As I have experienced all of the above, I recently realized that “power” is not about the tricky inversion, or the contorting of the body in shapes that are unnatural, or even the ability to speak fluent Sanskrit. Power is the ability to bring something of value to an audience, something that changes their life, their perspective of their body or perspective of their life. The ultimate place of power in yoga is to find stillness. Stillness, quiet and the skillset to remain present in life is why we do yoga. There is no other purpose than to seek this comfortable seat in yoga or in life. Don’t be discouraged by social media that encourages competition, unattainable asanas and separation of self. None of this exemplifies what yoga was intended to offer nor is any of this necessary to “do yoga”.

Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey; Upper Lake Mohawk, in Sparta, New Jersey; and Delray Beach, in Florida.