Growing up, I was always a total goody-goody in school. It didn’t occur to me until the end of my senior year in high school (after college acceptances had already been sent out) that I wouldn’t actually go to jail if I didn’t do my homework. One time (and only once) I didn’t do it: for a Physics class that was kind of a joke anyway. I felt like such a bad-ass. Clearly, this act of rebellion made a huge impact on me since I still remember it all these years later. This is all to say that last night was only the second time in my life I haven’t done my homework. This time it wasn’t intentional, though. I started my reading for today’s class (some handouts on “What It Means to be a Yoga Teacher”) and I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open. The good news? Just one day of training seems to have obliterated my insomnia … which is kind of huge. Even as I write this I’m dreaming about curling up with tonight’s homework in my cozy bed as soon as I close out my laptop.
Shockingly, I automatically woke up at 5:42 this morning without even needing an alarm clock. Also, shockingly, I didn’t feel that much of an aftereffect from all of Monday’s 72 Downward Dogs.
Today began much like yesterday, with yoga practice and meditation, then lessons. It was during the morning meditation that exhaustion hit me. Our teacher asked that we meditate with our eyes gently open and downcast (I always close my eyes during meditation), and I could feel them crossing. I just wanted to give in, shut my eyes, and curl up on my mat for a nice little nap.
We spent the day going over standing poses. Like yesterday, we dove right into the deep end, doing poses like Triangle and Revolved Triangle. It’s amazing to look at these familiar poses from a new perspective … there are just so many elements to all of them. It’s abundantly clear why yoga is such an ongoing and constantly challenging process. I also learned that a couple of much-repeated instructions are not actually correct. Those of you who regularly practice can probably appreciate how shocked I was to learn that: 1) you are actually not supposed to tuck your tailbone during Mountain Pose, but merely to make it “heavy” and 2) in Warrior 1, you are supposed to face your chest, ribs, and bellybutton forward as opposed to your hip bones because the latter can result in knee pain. I know! Shocking. We really got into the anatomy of it all today, which is intimidating and a lot of information, but very interesting. It’s fascinating to see the teachers analyze our poses and easily troubleshoot where pain and various ailments are present based on what (to me, at least) seem like the tiniest nuances. It really drove home to me how healing yoga really is.
After lunch we had a wonderful conversation about what yoga means to all of us. This really made me realize that I was sharing this experience with a group of like-minded people. It felt good, and communal. During this discussion, my teacher made what I thought was a really good point, and something I’ve never thought of before. She said that the skill of happiness–which yoga helps us learn–isn’t about acquiring more, which most of us have been programmed to believe. Rather, it’s about removing those things that make us unhappy and clearing space. I thought this was a fascinating point, and, I don’t know about you, but I can definitely see how that applies to my life.
Turns out that most of the classmates I talked to today were just as terrified of teaching yesterday as I was. It made me feel better, somehow. Which helped because, of course, there was more of it today as we Round-Robined Surya Namaskar B. Don’t get me wrong–it was still terrifying. But definitely easier than yesterday. We also got thrown into the deep end with Sanskrit today, too. I’m going to have to make some flashcards and get this down quickly because it’s abundantly clear that “Warrior 1″ cues aren’t going to cut it anymore–we’re in the land of Virabhadrasana 1.
Although I was definitely feeling the last couple of chatarungas during the Round Robin, I’ve actually been surprised to find that my body is feeling shockingly powerful and energized (even with all the freaking Chair poses). It’s also been interesting to see that my eating habits have immediately changed to pretty much wholly fruits, vegetables, nuts, and tea the past couple of days (and I’m perfectly satisfied). It’s not that I eat so badly usually, but it’s very interesting to me that this is all I’m craving. And, most notably, no coffee. Combined with getting up at 5:45 a.m. I don’t even know who I am anymore.
During savasana at the end of class, I had this crazy couple of seconds where I was simultaneously as removed from myself and grounded within myself as I’ve ever been. I know it makes no sense at all, but it was a totally new and unique feeling–and as soon as I recognized it, it immediately vanished. The hardest part of the day came at the end, when we had a meditation that seemed as though it lasted forever. I felt like a little kid, aware of every little ache, pain, and itch on my body, and feeling as though time had slowed down to a virtual stop. I honestly thought it would never end. Our teacher today discussed how yoga really paves the way for meditation, and that the two go hand-in-hand. The meditation is definitely the more difficult part of this for me. My brain just cannot seem to stop.
It’s still all a bit overwhelming … but I’m feeling good, and happy to be going back tomorrow.