Friday, April 20, 2007

Baruch Ata Adonai, Thank You God that it's Friday

Never have I been so happy to realize that it is Friday, and I don't have to do another yoga pose until Sunday. Today was Mysore practice, followed by Led Standing (went as a courtesy to one of my fellow teacher trainees), followed by two hours of adjustment training, which means, essentially, two more hours of practice, beginning with 10 Sun Salutations and ending with Marichyasana C, three times, adjusted by three different trainees.

Next week, we learn the adjustments for Supta Kurmasana (I feel I need to refer to it by its full name for this purpose), Baddha Konasana and Marichyasana D. That's all well and good, but it means that I am going to have to DO those poses three or four times per day every day of next week, not counting my Mysore practice.

And, yeah, I feel compelled to go to my Mysore practice as I am starting to freak out a bit that I am moving in a few months to a place that is an hour's drive from Shala X. And the only yoga in the area is Anus-ara. About thirty minutes away, there's a mixed-breed yoga studio that keep trying to start up a Mysore program, apparently without much luck. But in any event, I want to continue to go to Shala X, obviously not every day. But at least once a week, maybe as much as three times a week. Over the summer, with the kids away at camp, this may be quite easy. Unfortunately, Sir is going to be away for the entire month of July.

I was hoping to have gotten over whatever mental block I have regarding Supta K by now. But every time Sir goes to cross my ankles, I let my hands slip away from each other. I asked Sir, "Why can't I hold my hands together?"

"Can't you?" was the answer.

"You mean I can, but I just am refusing to?"

"Is that really a question?" came the next answer.

Jewish answers. Always the Jewish answers. Answering a question with a question. Why? Why not? Is that really a question? I don't know, is it?

Funny that I should see out the yoga teacher whose style most resembles the Socratic method employed by traditional law school professors.

"Ms. Cahn, what would you say is the problem that the plaintiff had with the defendant's act?"

"Well, Professor Lebron, um, isn't it that the defendant's act led to the plaintiff's death?"

"Yes, Ms. Cahn. But, well, what IS it about death?"

At any rate, from what I am experiencing in the Adjustments training, I am realizing that tension in the muscles is quite different from merely strong, taut muscles. There is one trainee who is slender and willowy, and yet her body is hard, as if it were made of petrified rock. It is almost impossible to get any movement from her at all when adjusting her in standing postures (it's a bit easier to adjust her in seated postures, because her muscular tension is not nearly as intense when she is not asking her body to help her to balance while standing and lunging). Contast that with the trainee who is a petite little package of sculpted muscles, but whose body yields to the slightest suggestion of a touch when being adjusted. She's soft and pliant, without the slightest bit of tension. And yet to look at her, you would think just the opposite.

Me, I am somewhere in between, although I suspect that when it comes to anything involving a bind, I am far more like the former than the latter. And I yearn to be more like the latter. I yearn to melt instead of tensing up. At least in Supta K. There is some deep seated block there, some fear that I have. I always wondered at this pose, perplexed at the concept of a posture that presupposed an adjustment, a dependency on the teacher. I never wanted to have to be adjusted into it, and when I first practiced it, I used to try to get into it myself. I only began to make any progress at all when I started allowing Sir to put me into it the way he knows how.

Today, my feet touched each other before my hands slipped apart. I'm making progress. But why must it be such a struggle for me? What am I supposed to learn from this?

Is that really a question she asks herself?

YC

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Learning to relax when I am being adjusted is one of the biggest ongoing lessons for me. The good news is that once you start "getting it", it proves very useful for daily life, as I now find myself consciously relaxing all my muscles at commuter time when I feel my neck and shoulders and jaw tensing, or at work when things get thorny.

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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