Injuries surfaced a dozen years ago; injuries that told me my career as a teacher was over but that’s not me. I kept going, changing my focus, my message, my style, my mission. Screw defeat.
Vacillating between discipline of form and giving it up altogether to find my own circuitous path in a bi-polar vortex of pain and pissed, I’ve learned a couple of things. I’ve come all the way back and been completely broken again. I could not get up off the yoga room floor the day I was sure all my injuries were gone. Superman met kryptonite that day as I came down confidently from the impossible height forced by a block under my sacrum and could not even move a finger. Shithead. You are paralyzed. You forgot your fragility in the ecstasy of a whole strong spirited body again. But you are not that. Now you know.
Back I crawled into my Feldenkrais womb of acceptance for all that is true about this body on this day, this age: Crawl crookedly as I am and find myself in my circuitous path born of instinct and survival. Bring it back to the yoga floor and try again.
But if I stay a crooked path with a crooked body, won’t I get more crooked? I feel sure that is true and work to strike the balance again. On days uninspired by a willing body I strike out with alignment from my Iyengar toolbox as a weapon against a blank page that refuses to be written. ABC is familiar and safe. Except when the letters come together as words that I know longer should have in my vocabulary. That’s how I ended up crawling across the hallowed floor.
Go for the dance. Move like the body wants to move. To music that begs the movement. Add the yoga like I used to do when I was using yoga in all the beauty of balance poised to enhance the dance that I called Bodymind Workout in the days before those words became hackneyed white noise.
Move in ways familiar and unfamiliar, wind in and out of posture, sneak in, sneak out under the cloak of the breath. Stay awhile where it feels homey. Get out quickly when it feels like quicksand. Toe steps gingerly into the fire and steps out. Rush and thrill, squeeze and soak, turn, twist, jump and prostrate.
Good posture is necessary for good health. I believe that wholeheartedly. But I’ve learned from my students that though some bodies do some postures in ways that would raise the hackles of my dearest alignment teachers, that’s the way their bodies should do them. In that way they can keep moving with breath as their guide and intelligence as their shield but mostly they will keep moving because it feels good and they are happy.
Teach form and show function. Offer the breath and cheer-lead by staying inspired. Each body has its own history and history will continue to be written as each body moves under one direction that points them in different ones because that’s the way it is. That’s the landscape of a yoga class.
(footnote: some of you may remember Studio A from this picture)