16 students today. I took all of yesterday off. A bit of a misnomer; really all I did was practice at home instead of at the studio. Woke up with a quick but challenging vinyasa sequence, and wound down my day with a sweet yin practice. Today I spent an hour in yin mode before teaching, which had remarkable consequences.
I found myself surprised at today's turnout. This weekend has been miraculous in terms of weather. Honestly if I weren't gettin' paid to be inside, I'd sure as hell stay outside. So I had a relatively full room. In this full room I opted to, once again, stumble over my words (at the very least combining "best" and "breath" into "breast" allows for some comic relief) and generally maintain a very light atmosphere. I think folks appreciated it. I have a feeling one student found it challenging. I reckon if you're struggling to stay in a hot room and find your flexibility, someone's witty banter might not rub you the right way. I felt I could sympathize a touch, recalling how I felt in a class where the instructor chose to wax poetic about every other posture as opposed to checking in with students. But really, whose challenge is that? Certainly not the instructor's.
Some folks tend to misunderstand Bikram's whole "kill yourself for 90 minutes" spiel. Some opt for the "actually go out and wreck your body" explanation. Me? I take it as an invitation to drop the ego and just be. I want to kill this preconceived notion I have of myself based on past experiences and injuries. I want to shed this concept of "Anna" that I and others have spent the last 34 years building, and connect with... this. Just this. Not a me or a female or a yogini or a punk or a poor kid or whatever. Just this. That attempt at connection entails meeting the moment in the moment (if that makes sense). Instead of running away from the moment (or the truth), I meet it head on. I don't pause to wipe the sweat. I don't step away from the meeting by stepping out of the asana or stopping for a sip of water. I just step into the moment. For some people even suggesting such a meeting is beyond a radical proposition. That doesn't mean, however, that I hold the space any differently. I have no desire to make the journey easy (or hard, really). All I have to do is provide the map. It's the student's responsibility to take the journey and accept all the obstacles that come.
So if a student wants to project anger in my direction because I suggest she focus more on the asana than on the lint on her mat, so be it. I may not be responsible for everyone's journey, but I sure as hell will make sure you stay on the path. And I may not suggest you kill yourself for the entire 90 minutes, but at least step out of your own way for a second.
This week may pose a challenge for this journal, considering I have two houseguests this week. One planned, one unexpected; both Bikram teachers. This could get interesting.