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.

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