Sunday, April 1, 2012

Really, Please Part 2 -- Day 84

Walk: R/T Kabuki Theater Film Club (Monsieur Lazhar)*
Distance: 2 Miles

A little more about the student I'm concerned about at the moment. The course I'm trying to navigate is the one that allows her to stay with yoga. Yoga isn't for everyone, but it is for her. She's excited about it/in love with it in a way you see in lifetime practitioners (and ones who become teachers). Her body and being love it - and probably know it to be good for her - but her head isn't quite there. She still thinks like an athlete who wants to win/accomplish/excel as fast as possible.

Because of this urge to excel she's driving herself too fast for where her body is at right now. For one thing, as a runner she's developed certain muscles but they're very tight and have been worked almost exclusively to go straight ahead. So when she came to the lower body twisting asanas - and attacked them vigorously muscling through instead of heeding the resistance/stiffness, her hamstrings, hip and leg muscles weren't open or prepared and her sciatic nerve was aggravated.

The trick here is to begin to interest her competitive mind in the concept that working through yoga injuries is part of growing your yoga practice and really encountering the depth and breadth it has to offer. Most seasoned practitioners who have worked through yoga injuries credit that process with many of the most important lessons/insights they ever received. Several former Olympic triathaloners are on record as being in awe of yoga for the growth it offered after their injuries (in and out of yoga) and have stopped all other physical activities/sports except yoga. (They began this gravitation toward yoga in their mid-twenties and haven't looked back in over a decade).

The danger with my student now that she has a healing period ahead of her is that she'll say something like "Every time I do yoga, it hurts. Yoga is dangerous, and I'm never going to do it again." Ie, she'll get impatient, blame yoga and not experience the wonder that lies ahead if she gradually begins attending to the many, many parts of her that need to slowly be opened, lengthened, strengthened and to the mental/psychological and, yes, spiritual parts of herself she'll encounter in this process. At the end of the healing, yoga will have grown her as a human being.

Her being wants yoga. That's clear. But that same being also has many resistances that argue strongly against not excelling, not performing, being seen as imperfect, not moving fast, and whatever else they are mobilized against. If she stays with yoga she will emerge expanded and strengthened on many levels and her practice will have matured and continue to do so. The tricky business is in finding ways to nurture her early enthusiasm/attraction.

It's also tricky business trying to write about this because I'm an intuitive teacher usually working beyond words. I know what I mean here, but I don't know if I can get it across. Not that I have to actually; this just happens to be one those things that grabs my yoga teaching mind and keeps me walking around with yoga and students right there with me. It's in the territory of why yoga teaching is a calling I guess.

*Very poetic, delicate, subtly far-reaching, tender and intelligent movie.

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