When I began teaching yoga in an alternative high school, I imagined myself somewhat like this tree, moving with the same grounded aura through the halls toward my sanctuary-esque classroom. In this dream, I provided shelter despite artificial lighting, warmth in spite of cold, gray tile floors, and I cultivated in my students the ability to examine their deepest, most personal places by sharing simple breathing techniques and yoga asana. And all this I wanted within the first week of work.
Teachers are the seen, but I also make an effort to maintain my muscle of a seer's questioning and examining of what is the teaching. I had lost some of that muscle memory over the course of studying under a particular system. When you lose sight of this as an educator, teacher, or mentor, you have lost something special. But it can become foolish when you fail to see that something’s missing, like a sartorially-bereft ‘avidyic’ King strutting amongst his loyal subjects.
Inevitably, we come to a place (sometimes long down the road) when all of that dismantles and the teachings as we know them, like suspensions in time, suddenly seem limited. It’s as if the moment something becomes dogma, locked in the permanence of ideologue, the lesson of the universe weaves a flaw in the fabric and the rubric starts to rimple. Svadyaya helped me see this: the coarseness of the rise and the discontinuity of pattern. I saw that I needed to come into my own expression as a teacher, no longer a puppet of another. Those teachings no longer sat well in the suit of my self. They belonged to another journeyman with a separate destiny.
Rather than allowing you to check out, an oft-repeated sequence offers you the opportunity to really check in with your physical practice. You can let go of wondering (or trying to predict) where the teacher is headed with this sequence and thereby get out of your head and into your body. You can feel when your hips or hamstrings are tighter than usual because you have worked at the edge of this pose already several times this week or month. On the other end of that spectrum, you can notice “progress” in a pose, that elusive pay-off that we are not supposed to seek, but are more than pleased when it lands on our mat.
This is the fourth time I am beginning this blog post. The other attempts were good ideas that I hope one day will result in final drafts, but each time I felt I was writing from an inauthentic place. I was thinking more about you reading me than about me sharing with you. I am still not sure where this fourth attempt will take us, but I’m approaching it from a place of consistent effort (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya). In other words, I’ve decided to 1) ignore that very persuasive voice in my head that tells me to give up on blogging this week and 2) block the visions of reception that are blocking each of my attempts.
I have these neighbors that I cannot seem to wrap my heart around, and it is bothering me more and more each day. It's not what they are doing that is bugging me; it’s how I am reacting to this situation that is. I don’t like seeing this in myself. I don’t want to be the person that feels like this toward others, but I cannot seem to stop myself.
The idea that the dinner be silent was not mine. In the darkest moments of the meal, when it felt like time couldn't go slower, I kept thinking this: it was the owner of the holistic cafe hosting the event who conceived it. The owner who had something come up and couldn't stay for the most excruciatingly awkward dinner of my life.