This blog post was originally shared via The Daily Downward Dog.

Our staff and volunteers are so grateful for reflections and stories from the Street Yoga community. Please enjoy this wonderful post by Maria, a recent Street Yoga Teacher Training student.

I’m always searching for new ways to demystify yoga and find definitions to some of the key Sanskrit terms to help new students understand and feel at ease with the practice. One of my favorite posts I’ve ever written is Namaste 101, which provided an awesome definition for Namaste.

Now, I’m pleased to report that I have another simplified definition for Namaste, courtesy of my Street Yoga teacher-trainer Katie Arrants. As Katie was finishing a class she taught, she ended in the customary way, but replaced the word Namaste with the word Respect. In lieu of honoring the light that shines within every soul, the same concept was made crystal clear through the simplicity of one word — respect.

Katie explained that respect was a two-way street. Not only should the students honor and respect the teacher and everyone in the class, but they should also respect themselves.

Short, sweet, succinct, and brilliant all in one!

When teaching a class of at-risk youth, the concept of respect can really come into play. The phrase is emphasized to ensure that students make their best effort in class, to respect each other by not talking, by keeping on their yoga mats, and by not making fun of each other.

But I love the fact that the concept of respect can be emphasized in any yoga class. We should all come to the mat with our best effort, full of respect for our yoga community, full of respect for our bodies, which ultimately leads to the ability to quiet the mind and go within. To be fully present in our body and our breath is truly the essence of yoga, the union of the body and the breath. I don’t think you can get to that place in your yoga practice if you don’t first practice a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t!

I’ll write more about my Street Yoga training experience when time permits, but I wanted to send out a few shout outs and much more than a little respect to Katie for such a fantastic workshop, to Sarah Cheiky and The Studio Cleveland for providing their beautiful studio and the Saturday evening Thai Vinyasa Flow class with Lyz Bly and Kevin Lynch (it’s a Yoga ‘n Thai Massage all in one), and to Jennifer Atzberger and Urban Lotus Youth Yoga for sponsoring the Street Yoga training.

Take me out Aretha….

Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB

If you have reflections from a recent yoga class, teacher training or the mat we would love to share it with our community! Leave your thoughts below or email to find out how you can contribute your story to our blog.