Today I realized that it really is true that you never stop learning. Even after completing my Rainbow Kids Yoga Teacher Training and the first module of my Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training, I realized that there is really SO MUCH more to learn, not just about yoga, but about life in general. As always, being on the mat gives me a chance to reflect about this.
Today, I attended a Flexibility Not Required (or FNR) class at the Urban Ashram Manila with JP Cox, a teacher I used to practice with here in the south back when I started my practice. The FNR classes are foundational classes that are exclusive to Urban Ashram. It may be beginner friendly, but I wouldn’t think it really is just a beginners class. What the class really does is break down sequences and poses to the basics so you can lay out a good foundation for your practice. Both new and seasoned practitioners will benefit greatly from such classes. In today’s session, for example, we just worked with Surya Namaskara A. More specifically, the transitions from plank to chaturanga dandasana. While I have been practicing this quite a bit, and I’d like to think I can teach it too, I still learned a whole lot from the experience today. It gave me a chance to really go back to the foundations of my practice and reconfigure bad habits I had formed and incorporate modifications that work for me without compromising the integrity of my body in the pose.
From the class, I didn’t take just a better understanding of chaturanga, but also of the way I respond to life off of the mat. Because we worked so much on transitions, I was reminded that it is, indeed, important to take pause in between moments, and to not rush into pushing forward or too quick in drawing back. Being in chaturanga after healing from a shoulder injury and having a core that isn’t too strong yet is hard! And it hurts! And so when I shift forward to that hard part of the flow, when I have to hover over the ground just before moving on to upward facing dog, I rush it. I skip the hard part because it hurts. But because I keep skipping it, I don’t develop the strength. In the same way, when I deal with situations off the mat, that’s how I respond. I rush through the hard part and hurry to the comfortable, forgetting that everything is a necessary part of the process of growth…of life.
And so today, I found that sometimes, flexibility is indeed not required. At least not immediately. It must begin with the basics: building a strong base, a stable foundation, and in time, the flexibility will follow.
Urban Ashram Manila is located at Bonifacio High Street and Brixton St., Capitolyo. FInd them on Facebook or check out www.urbanashrammanila.com. Click here for a complete listing of studio information.