30 Days of “A Year of Living Your Yoga” — Day 29: Practice Makes Better

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Welcome to Day 29 of my 30-day blog series based on Judith Hanson-Lasater’s “A Year of Living Your Yoga.”

I will try to keep these posts to about 500 words.

Here is the quote:

August 27 — A yoga class is a support group for people who can’t do yoga. Do you shrink from doing something because you judge yourself as not good enough? If so, remember that your yoga class is not full of experts; it is made up of practitioners of yoga. Go to class today, and practice from your heart.

This is possibly one of my favoritest quotes of hers. I say this all the time, “yoga practice.” We are practicing yoga we are not perfecting it or finalizing it.

Monday’s triangle pose will definitely feel different than Tuesday’s triangle pose. Does it matter that they feel different from one another? No, because YOU are different on Tuesday than you were on Monday.

This quote of course has virtually nothing to do with yoga. It’s all about life and not getting hung up in the minutiae.

I don’t care if you sing the same song the same way every day of your life. Each day you sing it, you will be a different person, a full 24-hours different (older) and that’s a fact. There is no perfection ever because we are constantly changing. So any hopes, dreams, aspirations you might’ve had about being fantastically perfect are … um … toast. The definition of perfection when you declared it has changed by even one second. Can’t catch it! Perfection and stasis are like the Gingerbread Man of life.

So count on it that your Warrior 2 will be different than the day before; it just will. And that’s a good thing.

As a yoga “teacher,” I’m really just someone who comes up with a plan for how you are invited to spend your 90 minutes with me and others in the room. You can come in and do your own thing and while it might be distracting and make me wonder why you bothered to show up if you’re just going to blow off my class plan, if you pay me, I’m good.

Teachers are guides. We don’t have all the answers. We don’t have some sacred knowledge that you don’t possess. We all use the same tools you have at your disposal: intuition, brains, insight into a situation and a response. As far as experience goes, our only experience that is different than yours is that it’s ours; our training encourages that we go deeper into ourselves and look inwardly more than the average bear. Do I have that down? Only in the yoga class, it seems. But, if I have a lesson plan ready to go, but no one is seeming to get it, or for some reason it just doesn’t ever click with the class, I’ll scrap it halfway through and just wing it.

Do you want to know The Hardest Thing for me to “do right” during a yoga class?

Ringing the bell or chimes at the end of class. No joke.

this little bowl. who would ever suspect that it could render in me vast trepidation to the point where my class would end a minute late?

this little bowl. who would ever suspect that it could render in me vast trepidation and frustration to the point where my class would end late?

 

I love my yoga teachers. Before I became a teacher, one of them would sound her chimes so loud, I’d shudder during svasana.

So I went up to her after about two years and started meekly with “Maybe it’s me, and I have sensitive ears ….” and then asked her if she could use less energy to sound the chimes at the end of meditation. (I was once accused by someone of speaking obtusely … I wonder: is saying “use less energy” obtuse? I just try to get to the essence of things politely) “Sure!” she said, happy as a clam!

Since becoming a yoga teacher: my ability to confidently sound that chime at the end of class is at zero. It’s shattered. If you could see me, in the dark (during the evening class)… I get my little brass singing bowl and mallet and I carefully bring them to my mat as silently as possible. I take the mallet in my left hand and I prepare to ring the bowl. I miss every time.

I can tell you where to put your hands, and how to position your hips, and where your eyes “should” rest in the gaze in Warrior One, or I can verbally cue you to a camel pose but when it comes to that bowl… fuhgedaboudit.

I whiff the bowl or I barely stroke it so it sounds like a muted “tink.” So then I take a breath because my face is all squinched up like an exasperated Kermit the Frog and I’m all amped up. I want to let people out on time but I can’t get the stupid stick to strike the bowl just right … and then I hit it so hard I end up hissing to myself and apologizing. Then the two more times after that, I whiff again. I feel in my heart, that I’ve blown svasana for my practitioners and that all the good stuff we did in class is ruined. But then I remember: “practice” and it’s OK. There is no perfect.

Practice doesn’t really make perfect. Practice makes better.

During my upcoming vacation, I’m going to bring my bowl and my striker and I’m going practice until I get it to the point where I’m good with it. I came very close to it the other day: I struck it on the fattest point of the bowl, the sound was more rich and less panicky if I do say so myself. But I’m still bringing it along.

Thank you.

One response »

  1. We always have that one thing that sort of makes us nervous. That bowl! I am sure you will master it during vacation and eventually wonder why it seemed so hard at first. These little moments make us more human, right?

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