Photo: lululemon athletica
Nowhere to hide…
Tonight I was teaching a private class to a student with powerful determination and concentration, but who is still struggling with the basic postures. Tonight he was having difficulty with the standing balance poses.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen yoga students hopping around the floor like one-legged bunnies while attempting a standing balance pose. It makes no difference when I cushion the pose by saying: “The challenge in this pose is your mind. Keep your mind balanced even if you become unbalanced.”
Inevitably someone starts to fall or hop. When they do, I’ll say, “Try to slowly come back into the pose with a peaceful mind.” At which point, those who haven’t taken my advise will fall again and again, each time taking less time to get back into the pose and becoming increasingly less successful at the pose (not to mention red in the face).
In class tonight, while holding tree pose, I radiated as much loving-kindness as I could, and watched as my student kept falling out of the tree. So by the time we got to the second leg, he was frustrated with himself although trying not to be frustrated (or perhaps frustrated he was getting frustrated).
After the third time falling out of the posture, I told him to take a deep breath. He did. “Now,” I said, “lets try something totally different. Take a moment and think about something or someone you love. Let that love fill you up completely.”
He then got a glow on his face, and I directed him to keep connecting with that love while he tried the pose again. He did, and did it perfectly, even effortlessly. I could feel his love fill up the room.
“This is the beauty of yoga,” I told him, “there is nowhere to hide.” Each pose is meant to be humbling. No one has a perfect body. True yoga is more about the mind than it is about the body. A healthier body is just the added benefit. Once you get over yourself, and your hang-ups, it’s pretty easy.
Yoga is the union of body and mind, where mind becomes one-pointed. There is no room for anger or fear or ego or frustration. That isn’t yoga. Where does love come into play? I like to think of love as the “union.” True loving-compassion can unite mind and body and spirit, while taking you to that place beyond the beyond.
Samantha King is a chanting, vibrating, vinyasa-practicing-yogi-Buddhist-blogging-mom, who regularly finds herself humbled at the foot of many great spiritual beings from all sorts of traditions. She completed her yoga teacher training in Toronto, Canada in 2005, at Downward Dog Yoga Studio under the tutelage of ashtanga yogis Ron Reed, Diane Bruni, and Marla Joy. She has taught yoga and chanting classes in Canada, Costa Rica, Tennessee, and now Bloomington, Indiana. You can find her blogging about her quest to stay connected to spirit at The Domestic Yogi.