While she was away from the studio for a couple of weeks, I realised just how much I missed her and her classes. Last Tuesday night, Elva was finally back to teach at Bodhi Yoga. Now that she is weeks away from leaving us again (returning to her home country in Iceland), I thought I’d share with you some of the lessons I have learned through this experience:
- First impressions can be faulty
I first met Elva on a Monday morning – the kind of morning where getting out of bed is a struggle. I barely made it to the studio, but I really wanted to get back into the routine of morning practice. I was in a sluggish state.
Elva, on the other hand, was full of energy. Intense energy. And she loves her Mondays. Like, get up World, I am ready for you.
The clash was so strong. I wasn’t impressed to say the least. But, because I was committed to going to every weekday morning classes, well I stuck with her. And I am so glad I did. She has had the most positive influence on me.
- Let go of expectations
Surprise Yoga. Do you know how scary this sounds to a type A personality? It involves walking into the studio with no idea whatsoever of what is going to it you. Might be a power class, might be restorative, might be a crazy drill. You have to come to find out. All you know is that Elva is teaching.
Well, surprisingly (!), this has become my favourite class of the week. Why? Because it forces us to come in with an open mind and no expectations. No class description, no warning. And in some ways, that is so liberating! Come meet yourself on the mat, start where you are and see what is possible for you today. Pure magic ✨
- You are stronger than you think
Nothing will test your inner strength like holding plank for 5 min. Or Elva’s core drills. In the moment, it is the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But when you push through and make it to the other side, your savasana is divine! Plus, you have a gigantic smile on your face because you did it. You mastered your thoughts, didn’t surrender to that little voice inside your head telling you it is too hard and you can’t do it. Your mind and your body is stronger than you think.
Like my favourite Master said, do or do not. There is no try. (yes, it is a quote from Star Wars)
- Don’t take yourself too seriously
For some reason, yoga and fun were in two different categories in my mind. Smiling in class was okay once in a while, but laughing? Big no-no. I have no idea how I got there, but I am really glad I don’t relate to this anymore.
Because there is no way you can survive the sweat, the heat and the shaking of your whole body is you’re being all serious about it. Sometimes, your leg won’t even lift off the floor. Even if you give it all you’ve got. Still, the intention is there and you are building your strength.
Also, laughing is so good for your mind. Having fun is more than okay. You can be present & cultivate mindfulness AND laugh at the same time. This freedom to be feels amazing!
- Express your gratitude daily
Last but not least, after each class, we’re invited to think about 5 things we are grateful for – one for each finger. It can be from the world around us, or things we love about ourselves. Being reminded to express gratitude is awesome. We all tend to take things for granted, once they have been around for so long. Our health, the ability to move our body, the capacity to be on the yoga mat, etc.
But, for most people, self-love is the hardest. So spending a few minutes after your practice to think about what makes you so great and ”how good it is to be you, living your life, having today” is very powerful.
By now, you’ve guessed it, eh. Elva is one of my favourite teachers and I am so sad she is leaving Australia. I truly wish she would stay. But, the cool thing is, all those lessons will be with me forever.
PS: Elva, if you are reading this, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I am so so so grateful our paths have crossed and I am sure we will see each other again. Best of luck with your greatest adventure ever: becoming a mum (you will be wonderful, no doubt here!).