Twice in One DayFebruary 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Posted in compassion and connection, observations, philosophy, poses and asana, practice off the mat | 2 Comments
Today was a GREAT yoga day for me.
For starters, I had 38 people in my Sunday morning class. Yep, you read that right; THIRTY EIGHT. I’m more than a little surprised that my numbers are still that high, frankly; I’m used to a surge in attendance after the new year – resolutions and all – but the herd usually thins substantially by now. I am heartened and humbled that so many people are willing to leave their warm beds on Sunday mornings to come and play with me.
I had a couple of brand-new, never-been-to-a-yoga-class-ever folks in class today. I LOVE it when new people come to my class; I feel like it’s an opportunity to hold open a door for them. So many of them come in nervous and apprehensive, and most of them leave feeling like this yoga stuff isn’t so scary after all. I love that.
Anyway, we had a great class. I worked ‘em a little harder than usual, though don’t ask me why because I have no idea where the energy for a warrior series AND a sun salutation came from. Through it all, though, I was mindful of my new folks and made sure that my directions were very clear. I reminded people, again and again, to only do what they could – that their best was, and always is, good enough. When it was all over, I laid them all out for a little rest, settled into a seated posture myself, and waited for the Universe to tell me what today’s lesson was.
What I got was an impression of Thich Nhat Hanh eating a tangerine. In his book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, Hanh tells the story of eating a tangerine – really EATING it – to remind us that we can receive so much more of life’s wonders and blessings if we just stop long enough to actually NOTICE them.
“So much of our lives,” I said, “feel like riptides. We’re so focused on keeping our heads above water – on just keeping UP – that we often look around and realize that days and weeks have gone by without our ever feeling like we were present in our lives. As you take your practice off the mat and into your world this week, try to be mindful of the opportunities that the Universe offers you to BE here. When you’re walking somewhere, be aware of all the wondrous things that happen to keep you upright and moving forward. Really TALK. Really LISTEN. Be where you are.”
I woke everyone up and started rolling up my mat when Gail came to talk to me. She’s an accomplished practitioner and rarely comes to talk, so I was concerned that perhaps she’s acquired an injury or wanted to express a concern about something that happened in the class (why do we always go to the negative first?!). Instead, she wanted to tell me that the closing thoughts I shared with the class were exactly what she needed to hear. She told me that she’s dating again after more than a decade, and that she’s finding it difficult to let go and trust. “Being where I am – being mindful right now – is exactly what I need to do.” It brought goosebumps to my skin to hear her say that – and it’s bringing them up again now as I retell the story.
After Gail left, one of my brand-new folks came and introduced himself. HE had something to say, too, and he touched on something that I occasionally worry about as a yoga teacher. “I know that some people, especially people who come to your class all the time, might find it repetitive, but it was great that you kept telling us to only do what we could. I can’t do much, and the only reason I stayed for the whole class was because you told me that what I could do was good enough.”
More goosebumps. I love my job.