I'm going to let you in on a secret. All of the things I advise you to do in class, I have ignored myself at one time, or another:
- "Try not to struggle"
- "Resist the need to overachieve"
- "Don't worry about reaching your toes for the sake of reaching your toes"
- "Give yourself a break"
- "Try not to predict your next move"
- "Go to the edge of that point where your breath remains steady"
When I teach, my instructions give voice to all of the things I have found difficult, and will continue to find difficult in my practice (and my life – because increasingly, the two aren’t separate for me).
On rare days, this voice applies to my practice unbidden; I am at ease.
On most days, this voice is a whisper. I can hear it, but only just; the place where I am, is not the opposite of ease, but it is not 'at ease’ either. On these days, the role of my practice is to nurture that whisper and keep it safe.
Then there are the days when I can’t hear that voice at all; I am stuck, my practice is stuck too.
Last are the hardest, most painful (and dangerous) of days – the days when I hear that voice and tell it, quite plainly, to fuck off. My practice becomes outcast, I throw it outside of myself.
The day my friend asked me ‘Isn’t yoga supposed to make you a calm person?’ was one of those ‘fuck off’ days, but their question was one I had been quietly anticipating.Read More