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Yoga teachers know how special it can be to open or close a good yoga class with heartfelt words.
Maybe those words come in the form of an intention, a meta prayer, or a reading that brings deeper contemplation to the moving meditation and healing art that is yoga.
As a yoga teacher and a writer, I’ve had the humble pleasure of reading some of my own poems from my collection, I Am We: Poems (2015) at my local yoga studio, Laughing Elephant Yoga in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.
So, I thought, why not give away some of my local yogis’ favorite poems from I Am We so that fellow yoga teachers around the world can share a morsel of inspiration, prayer and love with their previous students?
That’s why we’re here!
Feel free to share any of these poems with your students. I hope they may help your students experience their own definition and understanding of yoga within.
7 Yoga Poems Your Students Will Love
I WILL BE YOUR SUN
You carry a whole world with you.
A planet rests upon your shoulders.
You may not see it, but I do.
There is a Universe Within that you carry wherever you go.
Ecosystems of passion and romance. Warring nations of worry and fear.
A billion living ideas, stories and experiences that make up a whole history
Wherever you go, I promise to be your sun.
It’s not that your life revolves around me.
Think of it like this:
Whenever you come to me, I will do my best to be quiet and still
and shine nothing but kindness and light upon you.
THE FLOW HAS FOUND ME
The flow has found me. The surge. Divine union. Aliveness. Alignment.
Victory, I shout. Yes.
My veins broaden and pulse with the force of Creation, the booming Om from which countless everything became Its One Whole Self.
In this state, I could surely face Death, and defeat Him. I could kill Death. He’s never too far away.
I move to Death’s doorstep through hours, like minutes.
I sweat and tear up, I burn and I swell.
Chills race down my spine as I inch closer and closer.
Every step takes great force. I thrust one leg-trunk forward, and drag the other behind me
like staffs of lead through swollen molasses.
I’m breaking open.
Skin splinters into dust.
Ego shatters like thin ice.
I reach his doorstep and my hovering heart is all that’s left.
I know that, just standing there—
a soul, an essence, a white light of silk shroud—
I have already defeated him.
I have faced death, and won.
I open my eyes and the world rushes back.
The ceiling stares back at my savasana, the pose of the corpse,
prostrated and vulnerable, sweating and love-numb,
lying, once dead, now awake again,
on my pale green rubber mat.
THOUGH STONES SHALL CRUMBLE
My life belongs to me. No one else.
This spirit within my walls is mine and mine alone.
You cannot have it, Power.
You cannot touch it, Judgment.
This soul is mine and it is free, and I honor it by seeking my freedom and truth,
so long as I am alive.
Don’t get me wrong, stranger.
I want to share what I have—all of me—with you.
But it is important, now and again, to look towards the sky and tell the Gods
“I am here, I am my own, I want what I desire.
Though stones shall crumble, and so too shall flesh,
I mean to indulge life I’ve been given
with joyous, exuberant wanting.
IF YOU FORGOT IT ALL
What if, today, you forgot it all? What freedom would you feel?
What newness? What depths of experience might you discover?
The air, smell it!
A sky so blue, throw your hands into it.
A face, that stranger, is it your One True Love?
Embrace him! Kiss her. Don’t just fall in, leap!, hurl yourself into that love!
Imagine if, today, you forgot it all.
Would old habits become bold adventures? Might boring be a guise of mystery? The mundane, an invitation to wonder?
What if, today, you renounced all that you knew?
Celebrate the little things. Precious moments. Small victories.
A joyous chill down your spine; a smile you can’t stop with a frown.
Allow yourself to feel so bowled over, as if an angel has given you a shove,
see the sight you’ve seen ten-thousand times before,
today, so new, so unfamiliar, so Preciously Present.
That’s what makes life’s journey a miraculous string of happiness throughout the weeks and years.
A beautiful face you’ll never kiss. Dance with a stranger!
Relish little moments of victory; of success; of smart work, well done.
Honor the now.
Celebrate the instance of total peace, looking out upon that most beautiful landscape — you know, friend,
that scene the Mother painted with perfection;
the one you’ll surely never forget.
Look around when all is right, and say it aloud:
“All is right.”
LOOK AT YOU NOW
You used to say that life was linear. A straight line, confined by two events: A birth, a death.
Look at you now. You died ten times before you began to really live.
You’ve become reborn to yourself one-hundred times over.
You have been born, yes, and you will die.
But amidst the years of living, you’ve died and risen and shown you know
the path to fly and fly and fly again.
Now, even Death seems petty.
DRINK IN THE QUIET
Rest your head upon your pillow, love. Drink in the quiet that’s deeper than the sky. Rich with peace.
Ten million harmonious chords fall weary like your eyes, now.
They wish to rest with you.
Reach and pull that blanket of star-specked cloud across your chest. Seal in your warmth.
A little drool won’t be a problem.
I hope you enjoyed these poems.
And I hope your yoga students do, too!
Oh, and one kind request?
If you happen to read any of my poems in your yoga class, at a conference, retreat or festival, could you email me and tell me the story behind it?
I’d love to know where and how these words are being shared — it inspires me to keep writing.
From my heart to yours,
Pssst… don’t forget, yogi! If you enjoy these poems, you’ll love my newsletter. When you sign up, you’ll be able to download one of two collections of poetry for free:
“I’m usually not a poem person (except for Rilke, he’s awesome), but I really enjoyed reading yours. Yep, that was Rilke and you in one sentence.”Beatrice Dähler, Berlin, Germany