One time when I first started teaching yoga, I taught a beginner’s class. It was the first class of the session. I asked the students to introduce themselves and let me know if there was any physical issues they were having that they’d like to let me know about. In this particular class, a usually high number of students said they had been experiencing lower back pain. The class proceeded well, but at the end of the class I found that I had intense pain in my lower back, which was highly unusual for me. Coincidence? Nope. I simply unwittingly absorbed some unwanted energy from my students.
We are all affected by others’ energy. A good example of this is the negative energy that you can pick up while driving from someone behind you who has road rage. Or the palpable strong energy of someone who is angry and walks into the room. We also pick up strong positive energy. When a stranger smiles and looks us in the eye, most of us naturally feel better.
Here is how I’ve learned to protect myself from unwanted negative energy while still allowing myself to be vulnerable and connected. Before I start a yoga class, I take a moment to set the intention to only receive light and love from my students. Then I set the intention to only transfer light and love. Yoga teachers are only human. We have personal gunk, prejudices and limiting beliefs that shouldn’t be put upon our students.
Of course, this same practice works perfectly in any setting. For instance, if you work with someone who is hostile, you can set the intention to be protected from this person’s negativity. Or if your significant other is spinning out with worry, you can set the intention to be open to helping without being pulled down.
When I suggest an intention of only transferring light and love, it doesn’t mean being a doormat or enabling poor behavior. As a parent, teacher, boss or co-worker, we can take right action allowing that right action to come from a dispassionate, calm point of view.
It’s Day 13 of our 21 Day Yoga Challenge. Today, my suggestion for your meditation practice is to set an intention for an area of your life (or a person in your life) that challenges your equilibrium.