Posted by: chibotaichi | September 16, 2012

Ritual-vs-Routine Revelaed During RollerCoaster-Days

Haven’t been by since nearly August 23rd! Golly!

Since that Time, Things have stayed the Change, so to speak…

I’ve adapted to the shifts in my schedule, which have been many!

My Wednesdays no longer include the journey to New Brighton, and my Tuesdays and Thursdays now involve trips to Burnsville to teach yoga. This has been an interesting scenario from both a general and yoga-centric perspective. Crossing the Minnesota River on 35W always brings to me a feeling of significance. These natural borders were, not so long ago, very real and very impactful. I feel a shift in Energy when I cross that river and the county-lines that have been overlayed by Human-Meddling. It may be mostly caused by the fact that I have never spent considerable time in the far-South Metro, but for now I allow myself the luxury of fantasy and conjur up imagery of native Minnesotans and tribal-distinctions.

On a more real-world plane, this new Burnsville adventure seems to be repeating some of the themes I had been exploring in New Brighton, albeit this time I wield the seemingly more impactful buzzword “yoga”.

Attendence is very low, I have yet to see more than 5 or 6, which was not unanticipated as these two classes had been consistently cancelled until I rolled onto the scene. The nice thing is, there is a measure of security in knowing that the class won’t likely be uprooted since yoga is a format which is officially supported by The Gym.

The low numbers and fresh faces have been a challenge as I have grown accustomed to the comparatively large and familiar group of yogis in St. Louis Park. But I am able to see the blessing. I do not take my efforts in SLP for granted anymore; and I can see those classes as a payoff for diving in despite the uncertainty and fear that accompanied me as I stepped on to that Road. And what initially appeared to be Lack in Burnsville, I can now see as Opportunity!

It is an opportunity to expand my skills as a teacher, since there seems to be many visits from first-time or still-fresh yogis. And I believe it will prove to be an opportunity to redefine and grow my methods, since there is no familiarity or expectation with the people I encounter down yonder.

It seems that I may have already begun to establish Regulars, even if they are few thus far. I’ve always felt that a small group of genuinely dedicated attendees is more rewarding than large-scale one-and-done visitors. So this is cause for optimism.

The most exciting prospect of this, to me, is that some of these individuals are still quite new to the practice. The burden this implies is both flattering and motivating. With many Gym-Yogis I encounter, there is already a well-established idea of Yoga, typically Vinyasa or Power-Vinyasa. With the seedling-yogis in Burnsville, I hope to instill a strong understanding of the broader aspects of yoga and a keen practice that is adaptable, but also stable, in the face of other styles and approaches. Maybe the bottom-line to emphasize will be Dedication.

The newest shake-and-fake adjustment to my schedule occurred just this past week. I received a call early in the week from the instructor whose class I had been teaching Friday mornings. I had been personally asked to cover the class for a three-month period, and was more than happy to man the helm. However, as that period ended without any word from the intructor, I made sure to keep my head down and stick with it. Another three months passed and I had more or less forgotten about the premise that this was a temporary arrangement. I became quite attatched to this group, and had really developed as a teacher with the extra class-time. I didn’t realize just how strongly I felt until the call came in which I was told that my services were no longer needed and the coming Friday class would be my last as the instructor. This hit me surprisingly heavily, as I waffled back and forth between a soft-rage and sense of unappreciatedness, and a solemn-acceptance coupled with a horror at my own capacity for unappreciativeness.

I realized that I was utterly fortunate and grateful for having even been asked to cover the class in the first place, yet after having covered for well over twice the time I had been asked, to be whisked aside seemed extremely unsettling. Furthermore, and most importantly, during this time I had developed that keener sense of Dedication in my own practice. All in all, the average Friday morning had come to include up-to-an-hour of private practice, followed by an hour of teaching class, followed by an hour of personal practice in the class which is scheduled after the 8:15 class. I think it is precisely that duration that made these Fridays so profound.

I recently read a quote which resonates well in this context… To possibly-misquote: “Routine depletes Energy. Ritual creates Energy.”

What I see now is that Fridays had become heavily ritualized for me, and the prospect of changing up Friday was mortifying not merely to my Ego (which obviously took it’s shots during the week), but to that part of my Self that embraces Ritual and pursues the yoga of Devotion.

By week’s end I had allowed acceptance to reign, and even had assimmilated the notion of continuing to practice Friday morning as a student in the class rather than as the teacher. On Friday morning I taught class with as little fanfare as possible, treating it like any other Friday until the very end of class when I offered my farewell. To both my delight and despair, there was ample shock and dissapointment in response to my announcement. One lady even went so far as to complain to the Front Desk! Highly flattering considering the capable hands they would be transitioning to! I attended class afterward as per usual as well, opting to make no mention of the forthcoming changes, for the sake of maintaining a sober and now-based presence in my practice. It was a rewarding practice and I felt more connection than ever before to my fellow Regulars in that class.

After class I wound up chatting with a gentleman who on occaison had visited my classes in the past, and was in the 9:30 class this particular morning. Our conversation rambled on, and continued near the Front Desk as we both prepared for departure. As the chatter began to dwindle down, lo and behold, walking toward us (having just finished up with a class in the aerobics studio) was the very teacher who I had been covering for and was set to swoop back in to take the reigns! Extremely awkward, since I very purposefully hadn’t yet returned the phonecall!

It was obvious that an exchange would be unavoidable, avoidance being my lifelong approach, so I huffled-up in preparation to try to express my willingness to concede, but my sensitivity about the manner in which the transition was being implemented. But then, sure enough, within the first three sentences she inquired about my interest in keeping the Friday class.


Needless to say, I offerred up a big “Oh Yeah” affirmation, as she explained that the Wednesday teacher had offerred up that slot and she was going to take that instead. It was a hilarious twist in what had become a rather emotionally trying week.

So for whatever reason, and by whatever powers, Things seemed to shake out allright.

The timing, with the New Moon ripening, doesn’t strike me as blankly-coincidental. I look forward to reaffirming the Friday Ritual and taking the power it creates and applying it to my new opportunities in Burnsville, as well as to expanding my horizons in my other pursuits!


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