Learning to love the questions

I just can’t not offer feedback, when I love something or when I hate it. ‘Continuous improvement’ (to use the business jargon) is central to who I am, and I can’t help but foist that on others, even if they don’t ask it or necessarily want it.

So I offered my comments to my teacher after my experience of his unusual Hatha class the other day and he took it as he always does — with apparent grace and even gratitude. And usually with some subtle message back to me if I care to look for it.

He was very encouraging about my trying the regular teacher’s class to see what I found there. And I intend to, although the timing of these classes does not work at all for me and my household. Good communications and some forward planning should make it possible, at least for as long as it takes for me to carry out a ‘proof of concept’ (yep, it’s been a long day in the office and work-brain is still switched on) and see if we need to develop a ‘medium-term strategy’ (and there it is again…!).

I also talked with a fellow yogini after class and she enjoyed the class as much as I did. But her reaction to this as a one-off event was so different to mine and this really made me think.

Her reaction: This class was so great and yet it’s not part of what’s usually offered at this studio and my usual class doesn’t give me the same feeling as this did… Maybe I need to branch out and look for an alternative/supplementary teacher who offers exactly what I love doing.

My reaction: This class was so great and yet it’s not part of what’s usually offered at this studio and my usual class doesn’t give me the same feeling as this did… Maybe I’m actually not good enough to attend my usual class and I should stop pretending and stop getting in the way of the real yogis who apparently vinyasa their way to samadhi every Tuesday evening while I just do un-yogic battle with my creaking muscles and my drifting thoughts.

Hmmm…

OK I exaggerate slightly, but only slightly.

Clearly I still have work to do with my ‘imposter syndrome’ even though I regularly convince myself I’ve nailed it.

But I’m also finding it surprisingly hard returning to classes after a few months of just doing my own thing. I thought it was a no-brainer that I would love being back in class, but now I find it’s not that simple. I’m asking myself lots of questions about what my yoga is, what I expect from a teacher, how to reconcile what you think you want with what you’re offered. As well as how best to participate in class when your hamstring tells you not to do certain things: is it good discipline to practice observing the feelings that arise in such circumstances and watch the ego popping up — or is that making myself unnecessarily miserable? Anyone can practice santosha when they’re happy where they are, but it’s harder when you’re hating something of course. But do I really want to practice something so difficult when the yogis around me are making the beautiful shapes I want to make? It feels like going on a diet and then choosing to hang out in a sweet shop!

I don’t know how to answer any of these questions. I can’t right now. So I’m practicing living with the uncertainty and just allowing the questions to pose themselves: “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” (Rilke, Letter Three, 23 April 1903)

And knowing me, I’ll have a whole load more questions by the time I wake up tomorrow. I love making things difficult for myself. Hopefully not so much for those around me.

4 thoughts on “Learning to love the questions

  1. The body has an amazing ability to remember the right movement for us at any given point. The teacher directs but eventually it is our inner teacher that guides.

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    • Yes, I’m sure that’s true! But I feel as though my body is encountering every movement for the first time, not so much remembering as first discovery!

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