Practice and all is coming - Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Practice and all is coming – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

 

Some time ago  I posted this photo of me practicing my chaturanga dandasana.  The photo looks rather well aligned and picture perfect, I’d like to believe.  In truth, however, that was probably a split second.  A lucky shot with my burst shooting setting.  And so I posted that in Instagram with the caption “oh chaturanga. when are you going to get easier?”.

Not long after, my friend (who took the same teacher training as me) replied: it doesn’t. You just get better.

Since then, I have kept that in mind. That perhaps the poses we do in our practice doesn’t really get easier.  We just get better. I try to convey that same message to students who come to my class, often times while in the not so fun poses like utkatasana or navasana.  That often gets them to smile and relax a little bit in the pose, which is a good thing, I think.

And so yes, when you catch yourself challenged in a pose, do know that as long as you practice, the pose feels easier. Not because the pose is easy, but because you become better. And this is why we practice.

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the light in me bows to the light in you

the light in me bows to the light in you

Dear You Who Sit In Front of Me in Yoga Class,

To tell you the truth, to this day I am in awe of the fact that I take that mat in the front of the room and I am gifted with the privilege to guide you through your practice. Most times (scratch that: every day) I am utterly beyond grateful that you come join me in class and explore this practice that I have come to love.

I have a confession to  make, though. On more days than I would like, I walk in with butterflies in my stomach as I make my way to that mat. The mat my teacher called the “guru seat”.  To tell you the truth, that can feel daunting.  It is a task I never underestimate, not once.  One thing I am sure of though: Im not going to say I do not think I do not deserve to be here. I know I do. And I know that because of YOU. Thank you for that.

At the end of the class, when you ask me, “how did you know that I needed that?” or when you say that what I said or shared was exactly what you needed to hear and that it was as if I was reading your mind, I really do not know what to say except THANK YOU :) Thank you for opening your heart and your mind to receive what it is I have to say. It is an honor to be part of your journey and to have been a catalyst for transformation, catharsis or whatever it is you broke through in class. Trust me, that was all you. All I did was hold the space for you so you can discover your own lights (and maybe even embrace the darkness that lies in you as well).

Another truth that needs to be told is many times, I don’t have an answer for the questions you have. Thank you for accepting my reply, even when it is “I don’t know” .  I just speak from my heart, my experience and my practice. I hope that is enough for you. This is why, for example, I don’t lead you through too many headstands or arm balances, because I do not have a story to tell about them.

The one thing (or maybe I should say two things) I dislike about this job is the fact that I have to wake up super early, leave my boys and travel to the studio with my brain feeling half left behind in bed. But you know what, as soon as I come close to wherever it is I am teaching on that day, all those feelings go away and I am made deeply aware of how blessed I am to be where I am. Your presence adds to that.

What makes all this effort – waking up early, driving from south to north (and around the city at times!), studying and reviewing, training and training some more – worthwhile is not what I make out of leading classes alone, but the little (and not so little) things I see in class: your lips turning up unconsciously into a little smile when i come and cup my hands over your face before giving you a savasana massage, watching your eyes widen with pleasant surprise when you unlock a pose, the way you laugh at my (corny) jokes, the thumbs up you send me when I ask how the pose was for you, and so many other little things. So they may say I sit in the teacher’s seat, but to tell you the truth, I am being the one taught in  more way than one.

And I am grateful because everyday, you remind me of what passion, purpose, love and truth are really all about.

Namaste.

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Before every class I teach, I generally offer three reminders to those who come join me. First, to breathe. Second, to have fun. And last, that pain is not an option and so go only as far as the body is ready. After all, there is so much wisdom in the body and it is loud and clear when it gives us signals. The trouble is, we never really listen to what it is telling us.

Of course it is easy to say this Am I listening? Of course not. Har.

Lately there’s been a really bad pain in my heel. Well, a few inches above my heel to be exact. More on the left side. It comes and it goes, and there are certain things that exacerbate the sensations, such as going down a flight of stairs or trying to spin my heel down into Warrior 1. The funny thing is: I am almost sure I know where the pain is coming from (or why it is happening). Have I done something about it. Errr…ask me again later. Rawr.

 

 

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