Friday, August 15, 2008

happy birthday to me

Yesterday morning I taught 12 students, and today 14. The average of those two numbers is... 13. Ooh.

Today marks my 34th revolution around the sun. I think it sounds so much cooler to say that as opposed to birthday. Also, today is the day I owe my mom some thanks. Dad, too, because obviously she couldn't do it alone (*rimshot!*) but especially because her tiny frame popped my ginormous 10-pound newborn body out into the world. Thanks, Ma!

The light, fun feeling still pervades in my classes. Yesterday I kept telling people they had to listen to me because it's almost my birthday. Luckily I had a fun group who understood my silly sarcasm. I did take many opportunities to ask my students to think about their patterns in the room. I asked them to avoid taking any water before standing separate leg stretching, to avoid the water retreat as they dipped their heads below their bellies. As we transitioned into triangle one of my most favorite regulars turns to me to ask, "Now can we have some water?" I also had a second-timer in the room, who had a magnificent sense of humor. He was struggling, all right, but somehow he managed to keep a smile on his face. I did take an opportunity or two to show him some minor corrections, which at one point left me standing right next to him as he practiced. I asked him if I made him nervous, and he says, "No! I feel like I have my own private teacher!" He also asked me, very plantively and almost desperately, if it was okay to have some water as we moved into savasana. That got everyone laughing, and fortunately he got the joke.

Today was still fun, but less in a humorous way and more in a loving way. Seriously. One can find and feel love in a hot Bikram room. Several students arrived to class with cards and gifts for me. Surprise, surprise: all the gifts were edible! A wonderful homemade Thai cucumber salad, several bulbs of garlic, a cantaloupe, and succulent just-picked blackberries. I brought one gift-giver to tears. I had some idea how profound the yoga can be for some people, but to really see and feel how it shifts was amazing. I asked students to give me the gift of honest effort in the room, and they delivered in excess. I did have one new student. He said he'd taken Bikram before, but it must have been a while because he struggled to keep up. I did not mind. He tried and he stayed in the room, and that's all I could ask.

I also joked with the students about savasana. So many of us struggle far past our own edges in asanas for a myriad of reasons (pride, ego, wanting to look good in the room). I asked them to apply that same effort to savasana, as if they were competing for the championship. Hey, it worked!

My own practice nearly tanked yesterday. I had a burrito for lunch, followed with an iced latte. I think the caffeine kicked in at the worst time. I couldn't keep an easy breath in standing bow (also known as my most challenging asana), so I sat out second set. Oof! I have to lead by example, though. If I insist that my students listen to their bodies and play at the edge, I cannot push myself past my own cliff. At least I found it humorous.

I feel compelled to write about a few interesting experiences from the past week, but I don't quite know how without exposing too much in a public forum. I also feel I might need to step back from things for a spell before I launch into anything. Perfect timing, since tomorrow I run away for eight days on vacation. I cannot wait to practice yoga on the salt flats.

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