Monday, May 2, 2011

Striking Out on the Mat

I was thrown a curve ball when I showed up to class to practice with my ‘healing teacher’ and a sub was in to replace her. I refer to this particular teacher as my ‘healing teacher’ because no matter what pose she puts me in, I experience feelings of healing and regeneration. But this infield utility player (i.e. yoga sub) comes from a different farm system; not better, not worse, just different -and that is cool. It’s just not what I wanted that day (and how about that aparigraha imbalance?). My sub’s cues and tempo derived more from a strength training coach’s perspective than the healing, grounding perspective I knew and loved. I was out of whack- stumbling, fumbling and falling- and I didn’t like it! After that practice, I felt like I had struck out backwards. 
The next morning, while tweaking my notes for the yoga class I was to teach later in the day, a thought popped into my head. I remembered my own practice from the day before. I remembered the distraction and frustration and the thought of just walking out. I thought to myself, “That practice really stunk, I had absolutely no balance. I couldn’t focus, float or hit a handstand, and I was slipping around in my dog... I wonder why?”
I continued tweaking my asana line up and a few moments later... there was a response to my question. “Really, Sondra? Now what could possibly have you so unsteady in body and mind? Hhhmmmmm. Let’s see here, could it be:
  1. Two weeks of tornado drills, severe storms and flash floods? Nah, sleep deprivation wouldn’t wear on you.
  2. Yet again, your father is teetering on backing out of moving into an Assisted Living residence? After another doctor visit and trip to the ER as well as forgetting to take his meds this week, he desperately needs this living arrangement.
  3. Your son’s classmate was killed in an automobile accident while on his way to school Thursday morning?
  4. On Friday morning, your son’s baseball coach was involved in a car accident, flipping his vehicle three times?”
Ok, so there was enough chitta vritti swirling around my brain to throw me off my game.
In retrospect, the verbal cues from the sub seemed to be encrypted.  “Breath and sweat, that’s all it is, right? Stay with it,” sounded more like, “It’s going to continue to rain and flood and those infamous Memphis drivers aren’t going anywhere. Stay on your mat and breathe...focus and attain equanimity, ya weenie.” You know that old saying, “What you want may not be what you need”? Ha, so true. It’s very likely that my healing teacher would have allowed me to retreat to namby pamby land, and what I needed at that time on the mat was a different game strategy and coach. Even if your yoga feels like a bad plate appearance, there is always something useful from that experience to take back to the dugout. 
While I am so saddened by the loss of a young soul, faith and trust comfort me. Feelings of immense gratitude for this day, my practice, and all the yoga teachers that cross my path bubble up inside of me. At the same time, I am thankful that our baseball coach walked away from the accident and coached a double header that evening, chalking up two more wins.  The rain continues to pour as the Mississippi soars past flood stage, but, despite this fact, I won’t have to worry so much about my dad and his safety. He signed a lease and will move into a vibrant, healthy assisted living residence this week. With one less thing to worry about, it’s my hope that balance will soon be restored to my life… and my yoga.

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