Sunday, September 09, 2007

YOGA | Truancy, Working with Changes

Dark Orpheus does Garuda asana!

<---- Dark Orpheus does Garuda asana! Yay!

I have been avoiding yoga classes for the past month. I attribute it to my recent bout of insomnia, my period and my heavy workload -- but as I ruminate on my yoga truancy, I came to the conclusion that I was angry and acting out.

Since I started the Anusara classes at my studio, I have discovered a more genuine expression in my yoga practice. It is as though I have managed to tap into the source of that which transforms asana into dance. Some asanas feel more natural to the body, and I am grateful to my teacher, B. who has helped encourage this organic self-expression in class.

But last month B. informed us he had given his two-month notice. He was leaving the studio to teach in another country. I was devastated; I have come to trust him, and in the security and warmth of his classes I felt I belonged.

I did not want to see him go, but I also recognise that he needs to move on to grow. For him, it was an opportunity to share the Anusara teachings beyond our little yoga studio. He was sowing the seeds of his teaching across the region. I should be glad for him.

But like a child I was acting out. I started missing my weekly Anusara classes, perhaps in an attempt to wean myself off Anusara -- and B. I did not want to miss him, so I shall be the one who walks away instead.

It was childish, and I am at an age where I should be more mature than this. But I realise there is something similar to the hurted emotions of an abandoned child. I have come to see B. as my parent –- perhaps I could even call him my guru, even as I am cautious about giving anyone that kind of power over me.

With B., I finally found my centre within the Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose) –- a pose that challenged me for more than a year. I have struggled with the pose so much for so long, and when I finally got it, I realise it did not require so much effort at all. It was a softly thrilling moment, to come to full Ardha Chandrasana. B. was walking past, and he acknowledged it with a simple: "Great pose." He knew, for me, it was a triumph.

I'm coming back for my regular classes this week. I guess I have sorted out my issues and I am coming to terms with the inevitable changes. I shall try to make better use of the one month B. has left with us.

There have been a lot of changes at my yoga studio recently –- new teachers and new schedules. I am not happy with some of the changes, but life is about working with our likes and dislikes, isn't it?

I return to Mary Oliver for some inspirational verses on change, and letting go:

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

You must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Is this poem appropriate? Well, any excuse to post a Mary Oliver poem is a good excuse, I think. ;p


jenclair said...

As you say, "any excuse" --but the poem does seem appropriate, doesn't it? Lovely way of looking at loss and letting go.

darkorpheus said...

Oh yes, it is a lovely poem, on very fundamental issues. Cherishing what we have - when we have them. And when it is time, to let go gracefully.

I'm not even sure what am I losing right now -- my teacher was never mine to lose afterall.

purplefugue said...

I'm horrible at standing balance poses - my feet/ankle hurt after like a minute and I have to fall out of the post. We did Half-Moon Pose today but as that was one of the last few poses in a power yoga workshop where we worked on perfecting sun salutations for like an hour, I was near exhausted! Couldn't stay in it for more than a breath! I do regret letting my practice slip for nearly 3 years and am now working to gain my flexibility and strength again.

darkorpheus said...

Indigo I fell out of practice too for more than 1 year. Then about a year ago I signed with the studio near my work place. I decided to make a commitment to the practice.

Coming back was difficult. I couldn't do Chaturanga. Sun Salutations was challenging. I seem to have lose my strength and my stamina. It was hard work.

But I think I'm stronger now than I was four years ago when I first started practicing. A teacher told us once, "You have your whole life to practice."

Welcome back to yoga. :)

Standing balance poses -- I sometimes wonder if I will ever be able to "get" them.