Yup, that's me in a Vasisthasana (side plank) variation. How did I get here? Certainly not on the first try. Patience and hard work were key. No matter where we are in our practice, it helps to "See the good," as one of my teachers often says.
Patience and gratitude have been on my mind a lot lately. It started, perhaps, with my students. The first recent scenario was a new-to-me student asking me if the class I was about to teach (as a sub), “is going to be athletic?” Mind you, we’d not yet started class. Some people hate to feel as if they’re wasting their time. I get that. Fair enough. But sometimes it’s good to be open to new ideas and forms of movement. And by the way, the class was indeed athletic, as I usually teach more on the vigorous side to begin with. I assure you that the student in question was challenged and then some.
The second incident was a student I know interrupting my introduction to that night’s class by saying, “Well I need to get a workout because this is my only chance to work out.” Funny, because I’ve never not challenged that particular group. But the mere fact that I’d mentioned putting some restorative poses into the mix that day apparently set off alarm bells in this student’s mind.
Then another student seemed to think forcing herself into a headstand in one of the first Yoga classes she’d ever taken was reasonable, despite explicit instructions to not force one’s way into the asana. We don’t want anyone to get hurt. Oh dear! :-(
It’s moments like these that force me, as a teacher, to take a breath, take a moment, and regroup. To remember to see the good. To turn that positive into a negative. Clearly, each of these students was having a moment of impatience, and dare I say, a moment lacking in gratitude for where they were at in their practice and lives at that very moment. Frankly, it’s hard for me not to lose my patience with them sometimes in moments like these. I’m a fiery Aries and my dosha is pitta, after all ;-)
BUT on the flip side of that, they were present, enthusiastic, and wanted to work hard and be challenged. That’s actually pretty cool, when you think of it that way.
We all have moments of impatience and ingratitude. Myself included. Bet on that!
But what Yoga teaches us is how to live through these moments. How to quiet the mind so the moment can pass. How to bring gratitude into our lives. Gratitude that we are well enough to even attempt the poses. Gratitude that we are well enough to use the breath. Heck, gratitude that we are indeed breathing! Gratitude for whatever our teacher offers us.
We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm. The standard. This wasn’t always so, but today, we have cell phones, the Internet, Twitter, blogs (yes!), the grinding 24 hour news cycle, email, and countless other distractions to contend with. Can anyone say overwhelming?
The Yoga mat and the meditation practice offers us a safe space to step away from all of these distractions. It’s key that we do disconnect from all of that noise sometimes, in order to re-connect with ourselves and our higher selves!
Some days my mentor pushes us really hard in the Yoga practice. Other days, he gives us deeper, more restorative asanas to attempt in class. I’m grateful for it all. In the past, I might have felt differently, but getting deeper and deeper into the mind-body connection has taught this impatient woman a tiny bit about patience. Like another teacher I really admire often says, the Yoga has helped my mind be more open to “See the good.” And for that I’m grateful. Shanti!
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