Unmasked!

As I was unrolling my mat this morning, Sanskrit Scholar, who had also just arrived, leaned over and said, “I have an important question: are you donutszenmom?” I laughed and said yes, but then I felt kind of anxious. I went back in my mind to see if I’d said anything I might regret. Couldn’t really think of anything, but the anxiety was there, and it was weird to feel it. I mean, I was at practice at Volleyball Guy’s, which is an incredibly safe and welcoming place for me, so I am entirely unaccustomed to feeling uncomfortable there.

It is interesting, though, to feel that kind of anxiety. It is familiar, too. I have written for years, primarily poetry, and I’ve have two books published, with a third due in January. I have had to deal with the issues that come up when one writes and publishes personal thoughts. But I have dealt with friends and family. I suddenly had this strong sense of responsibility for the privacy of the people I practice with. I mean, my friends and family are kind of stuck with me and whatever I might say or do or write, but the folks at practice are just there to practice.

So I’ve been thinking a bit about Sanskrit Scholar and the British Director this morning. Both of them are teachers who studied with Volleyball Guy, and both of them were incredibly helpful and welcoming to me when I decided to learn Ashtanga. They helped me muddle my way through primary series, they were (and are) incredibly gracious about my beginner’s attempts, and they are always quick to offer help and moral support. I am incredibly lucky. The British Director was generous enough to tell me that I should grab the opportunity to practice at Volleyball Guy’s, even when that meant she would have one less person in her class. Sanskrit Scholar will stop cold in the middle of her own practice if she sees I need help with a bind.

Sanskrit Scholar has helped me see that I probably shouldn’t be a teacher. The more I see her devotion to her practice and to other people’s practices, the more I realize that though I love Ashtanga, I love it primarily as my own practice. I’m not necessarily into sharing it the way she is. Nothing wrong with that, I think–and I’m happy that watching her has helped me understand my own motivations more clearly.

Practice today was quick and very, very warm. I seem to breathe faster than most folks, and I really try not to take extra breaths in the vinyasas, mostly because I like the flowing movement that gets established when I zip along. And one of the advantages of that quick practice is that I get really, really heated up. I am just sweating away–and I don’t usually even notice it until I sit in padmasana and realize there are rivulets streaming down my face.

Not that I was really in padmasana today. Right knee is not going for full lotus. So I had my moment of utter grief in response to not being able to fold my knee up, and then I went on to have a lovely practice. Not too many people there today–Sanskrit Scholar, Bikram Teacher, Returning Guy, The Other Dave (back after weeks off from a hamstring injury sustained outside of practice) and myself. And since I’m taking this week off from work, I can go back to bed now. How much does that rock?!?!

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3 Responses

  1. Karen…I can totally sympathize. There are times when I feel that same anxiety, like when I met someone who knew “Yoga Chickie” but didn’t realize until that moment that Yoga Chickie was me. I wondered if we had dialogued at all, whether on my blog or on EZ Board.

    It doesn’t interfere with my practice these days, although there were times in the summer that the self-consciousness was making it hard for me to get to practice at the Shala.

    My parents are in Scottsdale now, by the way. They own a place off of Via Linda! I lived there over the summer 15 years ago. I love Arizona!

    Lauren

  2. Yeah, that was a little scary this morning. I suddenly was concerned that I might have invaded someone’s privacy by talking about their practice–but as it turns out, I pretty much just talk about myself 😉

    Our new house is just off of Via Linda. Small world. I did my first round of grad school in NYC, so I enjoy your tales (and pics) of the city.

    If ever you’re in town, let me know. You’re welcome to come practice at Volleyball Guy’s–and I promise, I won’t reveal your identity 😉

  3. Hahah I can totally relate…well, not completely. I often wonder now if people in my studio, other than those I’m already aware of, read my blog…not sure if I care or not either to tell you the truth. Heaven forbid the guy we’ve deemed “eye candy man” finding out though! OF course, we already know eachother, but if he found ot I was blogging about him…OH GOSH!

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