Posted by: kgnarlym | January 1, 2013

Practice! And All Things Are Coming…

Today my class was technically cancelled due to the Holiday, but I had several people insist yesterday that if I decided to teach my 12:00 class they would be all about it, so I went in just in case. Turns out none of them showed up and the one Regular who did seemed to be line with the official status of cancelled-class.

Then came a major challenge for me. Personal Practice.

I don’t do it enough, I need to do more, and golly does it ever feel great!

It took a while to settle in, because I can be very restless by Nature. I moved my here and there, fnally placing it where it would normally be on a Tuesday at 12:00. I took some time in Balasana and kept wanting to look up, move around, see, and go Outside…this is a fine example of how Teaching is NOT the same thing as Practicing, even if you are doing most of the asana with the group. So after a fidgety opening few minutes, I finally began to let it all go. Connecting with the Breath never fails.

I moved through some of the warm-up sequences my primary Teacher uses and then wound up in a forward fold with the hands clasped behind my back. I was here for a hot minute and it felt so good I could’ve stayed a good while longer, but I decided to come up to stand. On arrival I received a massive headrush, which can be a little unnerving if you aren’t used to such sensations, but I find it to be powerful and refreshing!

Not long after, I realized that I really ought to move through some Sun Salutations. I don’t know that I had the plan at the outset, but it didn’t take long for me to conclude that this was a great chance to really MOVE how I wanted to; I hadn’t felt so FREE in my practice since…since…I don’t even know when! It was delightful.

About midway through it all, it hit me that I might be onto something good and that I would do well to stop and write this all down. But by this point, the Flow had a hold of me good, and I knew that it would be better to finish what I had started and trust that I will remember what I need to. (one of the early fears in teaching yoga, for me, was creating sequences on the fly and forgetting what we did and not being able to guide the class through the same sequence on the opposite side…that fear doesn’t last long and isn’t particularly helpful, tunrs out)

So after a few rounds through, I had crafted up my personal take on Surya Namaskar. It’s not the classic Sun A or Sun B that typical Vinyasa students know so well, but that is precisely what I have been longing to achieve. It also seems that this sequence is mutable enough to accommodate different pacing and still be very profound and effective. It’s also not tremendously repetitive. It has it’s threads, to be sure…lots of lunges…but there is ample opportunity to create variations and change up the content without breaking the fundamental structure. And the achievement I am most proud of within this sequence is that the classic Chathuranga cycle happens sparingly, relatively speaking. I see so many instances of poor-form and wrist issues that I cringe to know these people insist on power-vinyasa classes. For the people in my class, over-use of the hands and shoulders will hopefully be a non-issue for the most part, as this new sequence takes root.

This is all very much in line with where my previous post led my thinking. I was contemplating what it is that I really like to do in my own Practice, and Today I let that ALONE inform my Intention on the mat. I may lose a few people as my methods shift and evolve, but I won’t lose any of the people who already aren’t particularly Down with my approach. And I think this will ultimately attract more people to my classes. Some things about my philosphy, in spite of the changes, are only being rooted more strongly to the foundation.

I think I have developed a bit of a reputation at the gym for teaching a slow and sometimes, though certainly not always, gentle type of yoga. I’d own up to the slow bit, because I believe in slowing down. And frankly, I DO believe in gentle too! There is no such thing as being too-strong or too-fit for restorative or gentle yoga or Yin Yoga. But the truth is, I also enjoy a vigorous and challenging practice. I haven’t been especially skillful in crafting sequences and classes that reflect the best of both worlds, but I am closer Today than ever before.

And all This because I simply took the Time Today, offered myself the Gift, the Present Moment.

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