Thursday, April 26, 2012

Because of love.

Went to yoga today with a sprained ankle... I felt dumb doing it -- I knew vinyasa was not a good idea... but Sweet Teacher -- she's almost gone now. And I am going to miss her a lot. So I went. And it hurt -- I learned and I practiced and I took breaks and I was very tender...

Sometimes you just have to go ahead and be there, right -- even when it hurts, and it exacerbates an injury or it calls up sadness or separation anxiety. Because of love. I had a dinner like that this week, too.

Today I asked about how to begin to work on balance in a hand stand.

We always think about extremities, right -- Sweet Teacher said. But it's not about that at all. Balance from your core -- let the strength and straight come from your center and your legs will have no choice but to come off the wall.

We waste so much time on the extremities... those things outside of the real change that needs to be made -- the real strength that needs to be found.

Travel safe and be happy -- you will be missed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

To Seek Out Difficulty

I think it's so interesting how things that used to be dificult become simple. How strength -- as if suddenly -- becomes possessed. The body learns.

How next to seek out difficulty... because it is in the focus and the attention to the weakness that we become strong.

Monday, April 16, 2012

In a Hurry to Inhale

In addition to taking the class from Hard Teacher, I am taking a short course from her in Pranayama. I find it very interesting to learn about the expansiveness inside.

There was a saying in graduate school in poetry -- if you have to ask the question you will never know. Poets are so snotty. I'm not sure it's different in yoga, but the teachers smile and say, listen to your body. I think it's the same answer, just one is meaner... sigh.

Last week I talked to her about my anxiety about the exhale. It makes me scared to be empty of breath. I feel like I am not in control. To hold the breath out seems almost to invite emptiness... emptiness of life.

We do a three part breathing -- upper chest, ribs, abdominal... breathe each separate; pause between segments. I asked -- is there a pause again before inhaling...

It's not so much as a pause -- think about the idea that you are not in a hurry to inhale.

Isn't that wonderful. Not in a hurry to inhale. It's not an expulsion -- not a denial -- simply a moment -- like Scarlet O'Hara for pranayama... I'll thinking about it when I get to it...

Aren't we so conditioned to rush the next --
Don't leave a job without the next --
Don't leave a love without the next --
I don't even think I ever run out of peanut butter...

Of course if you know you are safe -- and loved and housed and fed...
If you know that breath is waiting to fill you and life is all around...

You don't have to be in a hurry at all.

Friday, April 13, 2012

My New Teacher

I have started taking a really hard yoga class. I mean, the class that I usually take is hard, but this is different… it’s a hard teacher, a hard style, a small group, it’s two hours. I have been wanting to study with this teacher for a long time – this is the woman who almost made us all throw up on Valentine’s day with her crazy back bends… anyway, this was the only class that was open – and she said she thought I’d be fine. Even though I haven’t taken her classes before… even though I don’t know the Sanskrit.

I'm finding it an amazing experience. Both the body opening and the thinking about life – it’s making me examine how I handle difficulty. This is important information – in the practice for life arena.

First off, I am surprised that I asked if I could join… Despite being an advanced student – in some sort of relative way – I would happily have joined her beginning class. Mind you, I’ve been practicing yoga fairly regularly for ten years. That usually meant weekly, aside from a few gaps. Different styles, and I’ve watched my body go through different phases and tasks with it – I feel like I’m really studying for the first time now – but ten years. She teaches the Iyengar series’ and I would like to begin at the beginning – I believe in that. But I’ve been trying for over a year,  and I couldn’t get in. So I am looking at this – and one the one hand, I appreciate that I have the mind that I am a beginner. I have a love of mechanics and a love of precision. At the same time, I am slow to admit skills…

It’s a really hard class – and yesterday I didn’t know if I could do it. We did a few things that made extremely uncomfortable. Hanging from ropes from the wall and pulling ourselves up and down – using the weight of gravity to enhance shoulder opening and back bending… I seriously wanted to throw up.

She also wants us to get up into headstand with our two legs together. I tried that this week at home – I don’t know how on earth I’m going to do it – ever. She said “you are not beginners anymore.” She’s going to need a name… not Sweet Teacher… sigh. Don’t get me wrong, she has her heart opening conversations – and I really love her teaching – but we aren’t just playing around in there… She talks about rigor and discipline – weakness means need for work, not ease.

So it’s hard – how do I deal with difficulty? How do I listen to my body over my pride?

And yesterday I realized – that because of this thing that I do – of always wanting to know for certain that I am qualified – I am often overqualified for situations. Also, I am rarely pushed. I would never want that scenario for my children… while we know that comfort and ego are important, we also know that challenge leads to growth and fulfillment…

Maybe it's time to hang from the walls of life a little more... start working on my core strength.