Posted by: chibotaichi | July 15, 2012

Clarity Begets Clarity

I can’t count the number of times I have started to type a new post and then bailed one sentence into it in the past few…however-longs it has been…

I vow to not do that this time.

All those other times, I set out with this grandiose notion, a real point to drive home. Having a point is really lame sometimes. Maybe I can do a surface-skim of all of those posts-that-never-came-to-be. Probably not. I don’t know yet if I will even try.

Right now, what’s on my mind is the nature of Opportunity. It’s been said that what you seek is seeking you. Perhaps that is true. I tend to believe it is, to some degree.

A recent post on an astrology blog (or maybe it was on Twitter or something…in any case…) mentioned that this current retrograde period (uranus or mercury?! can’t remember which. Perhaps it was the combination) is a good time to really check in with what is working and what is not; and to narrow down the focus of what it is we really want.

Now that is something hilarious. Narrowing down what I really want?! HELLO?! I want it ALL! DUH!

Just at particular times and under particular circumstances…I never claimed to be easy to please!

And yet, I get my greatest joy in the relatively mundane.

On Friday morning, I taught the 8:15 yoga class as per the norm, but something magical happened that morning. Nearly every second of that approximately 60 minutes I felt completely in command. It was so surreal. Even my little quips were eliciting smiles and chuckles. I make these same goofy remarks almost every week and nobody bats an eyelid, but something about this particular morning clicked.

Even the Wednesday before, in my weekly Tai Chi class, the usual humorous-but-pragmatic statements were hitting home.

It’s like all of a sudden the audience I had been long waiting for arrived! So weird. But wonderful.

I have had classes like that before, where things just go smoothly. But even on those days, I often felt scattered, even intimidated, but just lucky. There have been classes where I felt like a total wreck, and probably the class felt like a wreck to the attendees. Then there are those days where it doesn’t feel particularly outstanding, but yet someone will approach at the end and tell me it was so great and they just love my style and approach. But rare had been the class where it had that effortless impact, like a homerun-stroke or a stripe down the fairway, where we all know it was great, myself included. Needless to say, it felt great.

I’ve been at this gig since 2006 give-or-take and feeling in command has always been my achilles’ heel. I suppose six years on any particular job is hardly an eternity so a little slack may be in order, but I have never been one to regard my tasks that lightly (See Capricorn).

The difference this past week, surrounded by vast swirls of the sameold-sameold, was a simple dedication to Simplicity.

I believe it was Tuesday night; I went out for a little perspective-shift and with my mind a’churning, I started jotting all sorts of things regarding sequences for yoga, scripting, philosphy, etc.

Out of this mess of Thought I arrived several important notions.

1) Stick With It. My admittedly fickle-to-a-flaw attitude is an asset in Life, because Life is change. But when teaching a regularly scheduled class, a little routine is healthy. Without a regular routine, it’s tough to build a regular following. This is hilariously strange because yoga is often cited as being a great aid for many people who need to learn to accept and handle change. What yoga is seemingly asking of me now is to crystallize my often fluid and breezy nature. Balance is the Thing, eh?

2) Stop Trying To Please Everybody. This resonates with the previous epiphany. In an effort to accomodate people, and to satisfy my own urge to shake things up, I had lost any kind of identity as an instructor. Once again, my sponge-like demeanor displays a shadow! I have had the luxury of practicing and studying under some wonderfully skillful instructors, but too often my classes ended up being a poorly executed regurgitation of what my instructors teach! It was silly because I already had a comfortable following who enjoyed my class just the way it was. It was really just Me who was bored and as I tried to satisfy my own meandering interest, I lost track of what I am about! I often would ask people during the practice if they want to do arm-balancing, or extra core-work, but I am realizing that doing this is not helpful once we are underway. If I am going to be accomodating in that way, it has to be addresed before we begin. Subjecting the entire group to my own existential crises is not helpful!

3) Go Back To The Breath. Far too often my sense of unease in leading the class stems from feeling like some people are wanting to move fast and some more slowly. And in the past, I let myself be stretched and pulled this way and that, trying to accomodate everyone…that reads like part of Epiphany #2! This third realization ultimately solves most of my troubles, both as an instructor and as a Human. If we are all breathing on the same wavelength, very naturally our pacing will become more unified. How do you slow down the Speedy? Make them take the deepest breath of their Life! This kind of entrainment is powerful, and an invaluable tool. I suspect it is precisely the reason my Friday class was such a joy.

At the very beginning of class we sat and observed the breath. Then, we began to slow and deepen it. Running these breathing excercises put everyone on the same plane, if only briefly and partially. But most importantly, it put them on the plane from which I was instructing! I have been in classes where my natural breath cycle is completed only once during an entire Sun Salutation! Insanity!!

WIth the understanding of how deeply and slowly and skillfully I wanted them to breathe, the whole class was able to get the benefit of the practice I foster. What a revelation! The answer was that simple all along.

It could be so easy!

Of course, one class is a small sample size.

But I am optimistic. If half of my classes felt that smooth and well-executed from my perspective, that would be a smashing success, not to mention a self-esteem boost!

I had been caught up in the details, in the split-hairs…I had been staring at so many fingers pointing at the moon…and of course, the moon was just sitting there the whole time!

So, as I settle in to a Time for assessing what I want and what I am doing, I am grateful to happen upon these realizations.

I just today got in touch with a local studio about teaching and am hopeful that the timing is right. This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted to get something going and growing in independent studios, but all those previous occaisons were just too early, I think. I hadn’t grown and learned enough as an instructor to warrant such an effort. Even now, I am keenly aware of how little experience I have comparatively speaking. But I am also feeling confident that I have finally moved beyond the blockage that was directly before me.

And though it may only be one step, it is an important one. One that affirms my ability, that I belong. One that allows me to stop worrying if I am doing the right thing, and instead focus on just taking another step. I have taken stock of what is going to work for me in this regard, and in so doing, seem to be opening doors to what it is that I want.

I hope everyone can gain some useful insight for their path at this Time too!


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