It’s been three weeks since our first teacher training weekend, and there’s a week and a half until the next one. How am I doing?
- I’ve read most of The Royal Path (I’m on page 109, so I really just have one more short chapter to go, since the glossary doesn’t count)
- I covered all the yamas and three of the niyamas, with two niyamas to go (and I read the sutras on those niyamas this morning)
- I’ve been blogging like a fiend and posting almost every day (I even scheduled a post for Saturday, when I was out of town!)
- I made it to yoga class twice the first week, twice the second week, and once last week, and I’ve taught twice in class
The thing giving me the most trouble right now is the Pose of the Month. I’m finding it really frustrating, I feel resistant to it, and I admit I haven’t been doing it. It’s not being asked to do a certain pose every day that’s the problem – at first I was enjoying focusing on a specific pose, and after a few days of practice I noticed my body was improving and I was able to go deeper into the pose. I also understand that practicing the pose will help me to understand it better and therefore be better able to communicate how to do the pose to my future students. The part I’m having trouble with is being aware of and examining my feelings while I’m in the pose. This is surprisingly hard.
These particular poses (forward bends: I chose a standing forward bend and paschimottanasana, seated forward bend) do not inspire a lot of strong feeling in me. They’re enjoyable poses; they feel good and I like doing them, but I don’t have any particular feelings around them. When we got the assignment, N gave the example of a woman in a previous class who hated paschimottanasana because when she bent forward, her stomach got in her way, reminding her that she was overweight. That’s gold right there. There are other poses that I do have strong feelings about: I don’t like chair pose because it’s uncomfortable, I do like tree pose and warrior 2 because I feel strong and confident when I do them. I like dancer pose because it’s challenging and I feel accomplished when I do it. With forward bends, though, I don’t feel anything really. Good pose, good to do, I get a good stretch, end of story. So I feel kind of like I’m being asked to make something up. Seriously, I don’t feel anything earth-shattering here. What I feel is kind of annoyed that I have to analyze my feelings about this pose, which is perfectly nice but not really noteworthy.
But then I started to second-guess myself. Maybe I’m supposed to be feeling something that I’m not. What do other people feel in this pose? N and J always describe paschimottanasana as a pose of surrender, when I learned it as a much more active pose. So I started trying to practice it in a surrendery way, but I couldn’t tell if I was doing it right. And this hooked right in to my worry that I’m not doing meditation right. There will be a longer post on meditation later, I’m sure (so save your comments about that), but I’m really struggling with quieting my mind, and when I’m doing these poses, instead of noticing what I feel while I’m in the pose, I spend the whole pose thinking about the fact that I’m doing the pose and wondering what I should be feeling right now. Not the most useful thing ever.
So I started to feel resistant to the Pose of the Month, because doing the pose was no longer the pleasure it was before. It’s hard enough to fit yoga time into my schedule, but when yoga time isn’t enjoyable, when I have to spend all my yoga time analyzing my yoga, then yoga time becomes and chore and I don’t want to fit the yoga time in. So I haven’t done the Pose of the Month since probably Wednesday. I’m trying to be gentle with myself about this while still trying to enforce the fact that this is a requirement I need to fulfill. I don’t want to get to a place where I think, “I haven’t done the pose in five days, so what’s one more day?” I still need to practice the darn pose.
But if the weather’s nice tonight, then I’m skipping yoga and going jogging. (Hey, at least I’m not skipping yoga to eat cheese puffs on the couch.)