Wednesday, August 13, 2008

aw, damn

As of August 11th, I had eleven posts on this blog. I had to go and screw up the flow by skipping a day. No matter, anyway. Soon I will be far away from such technological advances as teh internetz while I vacation in the desert. But is this a blog about my vacation? Nope.

Tuesday afternoon: I can't recall how many folks I had in class. We're coming up on a bit of a hot streak, and that affects attendance at a Bikram studio sometimes. At least it does at our studio. One of my challenged students practiced... or should I say, showed up and struggled. She didn't do an entire set of pranayama; instead she chose to fix her hair. She didn't do the transition from half moon to backbend. Apparently keeping her arms above her head throughout was a challenge. That came up several times in class. In general, she just wasn't playing her A game. I use that phrase because outside of the studio she is an athlete, a competitor. Sometimes I find myself surprised that the athletes struggle the most in class. Of course, as soon as I type those words I realized I was that same struggling athlete when I started yoga. Perhaps I need to be a bit more sympathetic.

I tailored my class banter towards finding a place of stillness and paying attention to how we meet our obstacles in the studio. I firmly believe we have the same approach to obstacles in the studio as we do outside of it. If we come upon a difficult (for us) asana in class and we choose to sit it out or drink or fidget, we probably run from our difficulties in day-to-day life. I encourage students to explore what happens when we acknowledge the challenge and simply let it go. Besides, all those extraneous movements (and that extraneous thinking) works against us, especially if we want to keep cool.

Wednesday afternoon: 13 students! On the 13th, even! Here we go again. I occupied an incredibly unusual space between giddiness and resistance. I did my best to let the giddy side take over in class. It definitely helped to have a student compliment my new shorts as I started class. Right off the bat I could keep things light.

The resistance stemmed from my own very challenging practice that morning. I just wasn't getting what I needed, and I also spent a lot of time worrying about my students instead of practicing myself. Not a great place to be.

When I taught, though, I found humor and exploration and fun. I used that awesome Frances Moore Lappe quote (It is not possible for us to know what is possible.) and it struck a chord. I also found myself singing students into one savasana, which prompted a hilarious comment from a student.

Both yesterday and today I taught a "new" student. I use the quotation marks because she is new to the studio, but apparently not to the yoga. Fuck, I even have to qualify that sentence. I say "apparently" because she told us she'd practiced at a number of Bikram studios, but her practice doesn't reflect that. Just typing that feels like an insult, but I don't mean it that way. She told me yesterday that she studied with a well-known vinyasa teacher back East, and that explained a lot for me. When she is in my class I find it a challenge to teach her, because she feels more inclined to do her own take on a lot of the postures. I certainly respect a vinyasa practice (hell, I still practice it myself) but I never do Bikram asanas in a vinyasa class. I hope that folks who come to our studio will honor our 26 asanas, as we teach them. Now I feel an urge to approach her in some way, to see if I can express to her that I'd really like her to try the asanas our way. Y'know, for shits and giggles. I've noticed that when I stress out about exercising a little more discipline in class, students actually respond better than I expect. If I'm lucky, this will be one of those times. If not, well... she can certainly find another studio. Yeah, that's harsh, but that's life.

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