Saturday, April 9, 2011


(photo credit)
Expectations can get us into hot water quickly. When we expect someone to behave in a certain manner and they don't, we feel confused, disappointed, and often hurt. Even when the change in behavior is positive, the unexpected divergence from the norm can throw us off.

I begin each of my yoga classes with a moment of brushing away our worries and expectations. I began to wonder today what expectations my yoga students may hold onto, what ones I hold onto, and how this impacts our experiences. Each class I teach evolves on its own as I integrate ideas I bring with the needs expressed by my students. For me it is a lovely dance of balance, trust, and inspiration.  I can only offer who I am, I have no control over (nor any desire to have) how anyone incorporates what I say and do into their lives.

There is a strange dichotomy in my life related to this. In yoga I simply offer the class for people to take whatever they need with no strings attached. But in my parenting and the trainings I offer as a school social worker, I expect my children and my staff to take away what I am specifically teaching them.

When I offer what I have without being attached to the outcome as in yoga, I feel at peace. When those offerings are made with attachment to the outcome, I so often feel frustrated and discouraged.


Can I parent and teach in other realms as I do in yoga? Practicing aparigraha, non-attachment, non-clinging, allowing my children and staff to take what they need without being attached to the outcome. Honoring where they are rather than expecting them to be somewhere they are not. Allowing them to integrate the information as it makes sense for them.

I read weekly from Pema Chodron's Start Where You Are during mediation class and have just realized while writing this that I have compartmentalized the teaching of that title to my yoga life and forgotten to carry it into the rest of my life. Yoga is more than our time on the mat, it is how we live our lives united our minds and bodies, being present and honoring where we are and others are at any given moment.

So with gentleness and lovingkindness, as I always tell my students, I notice this. I will strive to keep it in the forefront of my perceptions, being more aware of my expectations and how they impact my interactions and reactions. May you as well.



  1. I would love to take a yoga class from you. Wow, the ideas here are really timely for me: "I expect my children to take away what I am specifically teaching them."

    I will hold the intention of non-expectation both on and off the mat tomorrow. Thank you for this.

  2. I would love for you to come to one of my classes, too!

    Glad this fit for you. Since writing it, I've felt much more grounded and less reactive to those expectations. :)