Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Good Morning

Well, actually got up at 5:30 this morning to go to Juan's Mysore practice. It has been a long time since I have practiced asana in the morning and those first couple of Surya Namaskar's were not, shall we say, exactly easy... but the practice did its job as I did mine and I opened up and really enjoyed myself. One thing I remember from the days I did practice early in the morning is that once I keep practicing in the morning my body adapts.

That is a really empowering thing to me about physicality- our bodies will respond to whatever we ask them to do repeatedly. If all we ask our bodies to do is eat Cheeto's on the couch while we watch TV, then that is what it will be able to do well. If, however, we keep asking, in an intelligent way, for it to grow strong, flexible and integrated, it will adapt to those demands. I love that.

Yesterday was a big day of teaching. My two classes at the new Bodhi Yoga were interesting and not what I expected. I had expected the morning class to be more basic and the lunch to be more advanced and quite the opposite ended up being the case given who showed up to each class. So that is an interesting with a new studio- class personalities are still malleable and forming.

My 4:30 Level 2-4 class at Castle Hill as a twisting foray into arm balances and that was fun. I had a lovely visit from the luluemon crew and they were a lot of fun.

The 6:00 Breath and Body class worked on rooting their legs in order to really open up urdhva danurasana. It was fantastic. I had several people comment or ask about back pain in back bends during our last group practice and I realized that many people, although they are pushing up and look great in the pose, are suffering needlessly. So I taught a class with a them of being mindful, skillful and integrated and we worked with partners and with longer holds as opposed to flows. Everyone did so well and really seemed to benefit from the specialized work.

My sister reminded me on the way from Castle Hill to Breath and Body about something that happened once in a workshop with Patricia Walden. She was having me demonstrate something from urdhva danurasana. She looked at me, I looked at her and I asked, "Just go up?" She said, "There is no just."

I think in the beginning there is JUST DO IT. But over time, as we advance, as we want to go deeper, we get called to this idea that there is no just. What there are are opportunities to invest in ourselves, to practice skillful, mindful and integrated action within each pose so that our yoga is something that reflects these very qualities. For many of us, yoga is very deeply linked to our passion for growth, transformation and spiritual expression. If that is the case then really, think about it-- how there ever be "just doing a pose?"

Anyway, I told that story at the beginning of class and taught my 6:00 class from that theme. I think it went well.

Okay, time now for Focus on Form.


Kristy said...

I loved reading this post! It was so timely and helped me articulate a sense of mis-alignment I've had in my teaching. Lately, I've noticed myself using "just" in languaging poses and breath work. It hasn't felt right, but I couldn't quite figure out why. What I want to say to (myself and) students is, "let go of the struggle to get it right, do it perfectly, or attain some end by this one act; at the same time, give everything you have to this one act, give your whole heart, make this breath your offering to Grace." "Just" conveys an approximation of simplicity, but its too cavalier, it lacks intention. I can't wait to put this into my teaching/living today! Thank you so much for helping me get clearer about this!

Christina Sell said...

EXACTLY. I say "just" to attempt to make something accessible but really, what it can do is minimize or trivialize what is required. It is so fascinating the limits and power of language!