Friday, August 8, 2008

slowly getting the hang of things

For years I resisted my somewhat natural tendency towards routines. Regularity runs counter to the whole punk ethic, right? Reality, though, suggests that I benefit and flourish if I keep things regular. So now I'm trying to work out how to post here regularly. If I teach in the afternoon I'd much rather come home, make a good dinner and relax instead of diddling on the internet. If I teach in the morning, though, I want to get back to the house and get my beloved dog out on a walk while it's still reasonably comfortable outside. I reckon the two-class-a-day small-town schedule cuts another notch on the "wish I still lived in a big city" belt.

My last two classes as a teacher were extraordinarily fun. Quite a relief, since as time creeped towards class time I felt a lot of resistance. I've had a few first-time students, which allowed me a bit more playfulness. I feel a duty, for some reason, to create a safe and fun environment for new students. The Bikram series can pose a lot of challenges for people in general, and I certainly don't want to add to that list of challenges. And personally I appreciate practice that allows for experimentation and settling in to one's body. If I can foster that in a Bikram class, I am happy.

Plus, yesterday I taught in the midst of a thunderstorm. As much as I enjoy sitting and watching summer storms, I enjoyed battling with Mother Nature for the students' attention, and using the rain to ease students into relaxation.

I wish I could say the same thing about my own practice. Something seems to have shifted. I find more joy in teaching than I do in practicing. Today I did everything in my power to keep myself in the room. I felt so much anger rising to the surface of my skin, my whole being. I feel fortunate that my dedicated practice has given me the gift of identifying emotions in my physical body. Instead of wondering why I have that ache in my right shoulder or that hard feeling in my center, now I can acknowledge how I carry my stress or my dissatisfaction. I can start to examine what's going on in my life that contributes to this discomfort, and if/how I can change it. I have an idea of the source of this anger. Yet I'm not in a place where I can disconnect myself from this source.

My practice has so little to do with my physical body these days. Honestly. I've learned, finally, to let go of expectations about the visual expression of the asanas. It took me a long time to live with myself in that space, to ride my breath and stay in the present. I feel like I've lost some of that progress when it comes to staying in the moment. I allow myself to be easily distracted. Unfortunately I don't know what else to do now to take a few more steps forward in the direction of that progress. But maybe that's okay. Perhaps as I needed to let go of physical expectations, I also need to let go of the mental expectations.

And maybe... just maybe, I really do need my upcoming vacation.

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