Here we are yet again Travellers,
This morning’s walk can be summed up in a few words: humid, cotton candy clouded, and all the damn bunnies. This is not only the first day of summer that I would call humid, but up until this week, I though perhaps the bunny population was not going to explode this year. Not only was I wrong, but I believe we passed by two bun buns who were going to make more of them this morning…good grief…
I always marvel at the way certain experiences in our life stick like taffy in the corners of our mind. Sometimes it’s a random conversation or encounter that you think afterwards, that’s worth remembering and then you mentally dog ear that page of memory until it’s time. Time for you to use the information or recount the memory to other humans. I’m pretty sure this is how storytelling was born.
Let me tell you a little one…
Not too many years ago, I was an avid yoga practitioner and teacher. The studio I worked in was hot yoga, over 100 degrees with 80% humidity and the style was what I would describe as an Ashtanga vinyasa hybrid. It didn’t follow the Ashtanga series per say, but incorporated much of it into the flows. It was called “power yoga” and it was aggressive. It was an hour and a half of a serious ass beating. I was a vigorous student who consumed all and any information I could find about yoga. I was there as either student or teacher four days a week. I had found my new movement.
Then things began to shift…
”Yoga” in America is a many factioned thing…the Yoga Sutras are as old as well, biblical age and like the Bible, there’s a whole lot of interpretation going on. And for a path that was meant to help individuals find peace, it’s an arena of turmoil. I began to study Sadie Nardini’s work, which at that time, she called Core Strength Vinyasa. I would say at that time she was a disciple of Leslie Kaminoff, who wrote Yoga Anatomy and is an instructor in his own right. What I loved was her knowledge of anatomy and the human body and how she blended it into the practice. It was a seamless union of the eight limb path and modern kinesiology. It made too much sense. Her training was the first time I learned about fascia, and your psoas muscle and just all the amazing things in the body. She’s still out there teaching today, but as all of us who live a life of motion do, she has evolved into a new type of practice.
The thing with my learning is it steered me away from the studio’s ideas about yoga…I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stay there. Then one night, in one of my last classes, I had a student who really left taffy in my brain. She was from India, born and raised. She may have been a half dozen years younger than me. After class, we had a chat about how she felt about American yoga. I won’t go into any of those details, because here’s the bread and butter: She said in India, where she was from, they practiced yoga outside in the parks on large white sheets. As a community, all ages. And she said it always began with laughter….it always began with laughter.
OH, and in my mind, I could see what she was describing, like fucking Nirvana, like a missing scene from Slumdog Millionaire. I imagined the joy and the warmth and the white sheets and peace. And I’ve never been to that studio in America, have you?
And I wanted that…but two classes later, I would get injured. Only injury, knock on wood, of my whole athletic journey. I pulled my IT band, piriformis, and two adductors in my left leg, which in summation, created runner’s knee. At the end of two doctors, one massage therapist and a trip to the foot doctor I learned I had lax ligaments, which most flexible people do. I was told I needed more flexibility like I needed a hole in the head. I learned my left foot was missing one of the three arches due to that laxity. I was going to struggle hard with balance. I didn’t know how to handle it..
So I left yoga…
Ok, I left the studio, it was rather unfortunate in truth, but I believe in the end, that injury saved me. I moved on to cross training: kettle bells, plyometrics, free weights, body weight movement, balance balls, you get what I’m saying, BUT yoga never really left me. It’s been with me all along, an evolving practice.
I’ve changed over the years into what I would call a guide. I believe whenever you lead a class, it is important to explain just that, I am guide, I’m going to show you how this movement looks in my body and then you are going to interpret it into yours. I don’t believe in adjusting people, because every single body is different. Bio-individuality is my religion. We are all very similar, but it’s so important that each of us journeys into ourselves to move. Learn your weaknesses, strengths, fears, where you are light and where you feel heavy. Learn to control your gravity and all the dualism that exists in movement. Learn to articulate your body and control your nervous system. Learn to drive your vehicle. Additionally, we all have injuries or places that need attention and we can’t see inside each other’s bodies, we can really only guide each other.
One of the things I’m working up to braving is going back into the fold of guiding a practice. I have a massive concrete terrace outside in my backyard. And I can’t decide if it’s as amazing an idea as it feels like it is, or not. Yoga unbound by walls, under the evening sky with the sounds of only the city and nature, it seems dreamy to me. In the evening hours, when you place your mat on the warm concrete, it’s like magic.
I know I will not be the teacher I was because I’ve learned so much since then. I think I could be better, because I am completely sure that the beginning, this time, in the beginning there will be laughter.
Thanks for stopping by!!