Practice is feeling hard for me right now. So hard that I reached out to two of the most solid practitioners in one of the classes I go to regularly just to tell them this and to draw support from something shared. Not my usual way at all. I usually fight alone.
They both offered me something, my ‘comrades in yoga gear’ as one of them put it. And knowing they had my back made the most recent class more possible. Each breath felt like a conscious deliberate act, each movement presented an intense kaleidoscope of sensations. Hard to stay present through such vivid, vital intensity. I wanted to run from the room, I wanted to retreat into the comforting prostration of Child’s Pose. But I felt a gentle insistence that I should keep moving, keep advancing, reconnoitring this intimidating territory. An internal war of heart and mind. The āsanas in class had a theme of praṇāma, and I did my best to offer up my efforts, my yearning for freedom and light. Usually I cling so tightly, this was my cue to let go.
Of course I survived this skirmish. And I’ll do it all again for as long as it takes until something subtly shifts and practice once more reveals itself as a friendly place to play.
And as my own practice is vastly confronting I have faced teaching recently with some ambivalence. Could I still offer security and space as a teacher when as a practitioner I’m feeling very off-balance? I almost cancelled. But I’m glad I didn’t. Instead I gave my all to my regular class this week. I talked from the heart, I connected with them physically with frequent gentle adjustments that I could feel working some tiny magic under my hands, and I dared to close class with a chant because I felt so inspired by their beautiful work on the mat.
It was exposing and a bit scary, but it also felt like the way I truly want to teach, with openness and humility and generosity, offering the best of what I have. And I think it went well — or rather I feel that it went well.
In turn I learned so much from watching them in their practice and from their brief reflections at the end of class. It was inspiring, reassuring and humbling.
I am full of gratitude for all these teachers in my life. I hope I offer back sufficiently.