I just completed Part Two of the Four-Part Ashaya Yoga 200-Hour Teacher Training in St. Michaels, MD. I was blown away by the courageous transformation of the students and the love of the group. I taught a session on holiday cheer and good will, emphasizing that good will comes from an appreciation of life. It’s an inside job – it starts with you being good to yourself.

One of my assistants at the training, Marianna, offered me a ride to the airport since our flights departed at the same time. However, as we were running a bit late, she had to drop off her car at the rental car return which meant that we would have to take a bus to the terminal. I was a bit concerned about this because I was traveling with four heavy bags!

When I got to the door of the bus and tried to load up my four bags, an officer in full military uniform saw my struggle. He was a big guy and very strong. With a smile ear to ear, he said, “Let me get that for you.” He picked up both bags at the same time as if they had feathers in them and loaded them up on the rack. I was as impressed as I was grateful. He was in the seat right next to the luggage rack and there was an empty seat next to his. He slid over one seat and invited me to sit down next to him.

In no time, we struck up a conversation. I thanked him for his help and jokingly said, “You’re really strong but I’ve got you beat on flexibility. I’m a yoga teacher.” He laughed and said, “That’s for sure. I could really use yoga because I’m so stiff.” Our conversation continued with amazing ease and fluidity. I thanked him for his service and asked him if he was returning home for the holidays. It turns out that he is a teacher in the air force. He teaches pilots about the safety of transporting hazardous materials and explosives overseas when there are passengers on board. He said it’s a critical function because when certain materials are combined, it could create an explosion. It’s a matter of life or death. I said sarcastically, “There’s no pressure there, is there?” We both laughed.

Then I said, “I’m a teacher too, but I’m only concerned with making sure students don’t pull a muscle or strain their back.” Some silence went by for a few seconds. Then I felt compelled to say, “We are teachers teaching something we both believe in for the benefit of others. Isn’t it a great thing to serve in this way?” He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Yes, I’ve dedicated my entire life to this.”

By the end of the short 10-minute transport, I felt a strong bond to this officer as though we were brothers. When our eyes met, I saw his heart and he saw mine. It was as if we both recognized our mission on the planet. Although we had different means of service, we were one in our heart’s purpose to find fulfillment and meaning in life through teaching others.

When the bus stopped he leapt out of his seat and again went straight for my bags. “I’ll hand them down to you.” I joked and said, “Now you’re making me feel really weak.” He laughed. Once my bags were off the bus, we shook hands and went on our way. I felt a little teary and realized how moved I was. Being so blown open already from the training, I felt as though I received a holiday blessing from a stranger, another human being mirroring my own heart. I was uplifted, inspired, and certain beyond any doubt that good will abounds on this earth, and that at the level of the heart, we are one.

May this holiday season bring you the blessing of good will and peace. May you share your kindness with others knowing that in our essence, we are all one.

Blessings from the Ashaya Staff,

Todd