Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Afternoon- Reflections on The Heart of Practice

Well, like I have been saying,  we had a really great weekend here in Austin.

When I was practicing asana on Friday morning before I went to pick Noah up,  I had a very strong feeling and intention arise that I wanted this weekend to be a time when shifts would happen for the folks who came. I didn't want it to be "just another weekend where we did a few urdhva danurasanas, worked up a good sweat and had a fun time together," all of which I think are awesome things. I really do. I knew though, that I wanted the weekend to be a time when people had ah-hah moments about the asana, about themselves, each other and where a new boundary was created, a new threshold was created.

I went to be last night totally inspired about the weekend and I remembered my initial intention and then got even more inspired because we really did-- as a group-- do exactly what I had wanted to do. I have to say workshop was a lovely mixture of deep work, applied insights and the kind of fun that comes as a result of Supreme efforts. That is the kind of fun I like to have in asana.

Don't get me wrong. I love to play and I love to be silly and I love  belly-aching, side-splitting moments of fun. But what is "fun" for me as a yoga practitioner and teacher is generally the result of lots of dedication and hard work. It is that kind of atmosphere and effort that opens a door inside me to a kind of fun that lives underneath the surface definitions of fun. And I think it was that kind of weekend for the people that came. We had fun and we laughed but  Noah and I kept a lot of discipline in the classroom and called for lots of very hard work and we set a very high bar for the students in the room. And everyone... every single person in the room rose to the occasion and stepped into flow of what we were offering. It was pretty darn awesome.

I think that's the thing about having strong teachers that ask a lot of us- we get invited to step way beyond our preconceived limits and into our own uncharted territory and previously unrecognized potential. I know I can do a lot of what I can do because I had teachers who asked a lot of me.  And sure, it can have a shadow side that touches on our patterns of not ever feeling good enough of having to work hard to get approval and all that stuff. Sure, there is that liability to working with a teacher who demands a lot. Nor do I  think that  being tough for tough's sake is particularly worthwhile. Nor do I believe being demanding is, in itself, going to open any doors for anyone. But I do think that high standards along with the skillful presentation of what it is going to take to meet that standard is the key to progress on this path. And like my friend Karen is always reminding me, the practice of the practice teaches you how to practice. The more we step into the ring, apply the principles, receive the guidance of our inner and outer teachers, the more the process is training us in how to get better, the more the demands are going to hone us into someone who can meet them.

At one point in the workshop I was helping Brooke get her foot in Natrajasana and I looked around and saw so many of my recent Immersion graduates like Brooke, Gigi, Jason, Meredith, and Sam all rockin' out the pose and I said, "Have you guys noticed how freakin' good you have gotten?" It was really inspiring for me to seem them all lined up next to one another working diligently, persistently and skillfully. It was a lovely moment for me. That, to me, is fun. It was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend for me.

I also enjoyed having the chance to observe my regular students poses while Noah conducted class. I felt like I saw something things I do not normally see when my mind is on leading a whole class through a sequence. I felt like I was able to give a lot of help and fine-tuning adjustments to people this weekend in ways I don't usually have the opportunity to do. That was fun. I got to see how far so many people have come and some places that will take them to the next level.

So, I guess that's it for now. More could be said, but I have more to get done today.

1 comment:

Dale said...

Jai jai Hanuman!!!!

Sorry - Just had a flashback :-).