What does it mean to hold sacred space? As yoga teachers, we hear it a lot; but what is it exactly?
For about a year, I struggled to pinpoint how I could hold sacred space and what that space needed to feel like. My students were always different, with different wants and needs.
For the short term, my plan was to infuse my classes with a sense of peace and tranquility. This seemed to get me by for about a year, in which time, I was able to experience teaching in many different environments. I was able to learn how to adjust my voice to suit the class, how to set boundaries so that students respected my role as a teacher and not their doctor, psychotherapist, nutritionist or life coach.
Above all, I learned about how complex we are as human beings – and how powerful emotions can crop up in the most unexpected parts of class.
Through all of these lessons, I finally got to understand and develop the skill of how to hold sacred space. In essence – for me, holding sacred space means being the eye of the storm. It means, being the person that holds the ship steady whilst the waves crash. It means, helping students create a spa-like environment on the inside, so they can find a safe refuge from the chaos outside.
I’ve witnessed students release every emotion into their sacred space: Fear, frustration, anxiety, deep sadness, joy, love and amusement. I’ve seen it all – and moreover, I’ve learned how to support their transition from one emotion to another, until finally, they find a deep sense of peace and calm.
As obvious as it sounds, my first port of call is always to bring them back to their breath, their sail, their roots – whatever imagery can bring them back to present moment. Everything else that seems to hinder their ability to find tranquility, soon dissipates. It’s an amazing thing to watch and an even more amazing thing to hear about after class.
Now, in my Yoga Teaching journey, I feel confident that I can hold sacred space no matter what the environment or class situation. Your Yoga Flow reminds me that breath is the key.
How would you describe holding sacred space?
Was it something that came to you straight away or did it take some time to harness?
Contributed by guest author, Yoga Teacher Training Alum
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