B*tch

Yup, that’s me. Saturday led class. I think I might have been cranky right from the get-go. There is something about Saturday led that makes me weird, emotionally, but I can never quite put my finger on it. I know, though, that the way I most like the class is when I am surrounded by a few of the Mysorians.

This morning, though, it was me and Sanskrit Scholar. That’s it for Mysorian representation. Sanskrit Scholar does the teacher training at Starbucks of Yoga studio, and as I rolled out my mat she introduced me to a few teacher trainees who were taking the class to experience Ashtanga. Did I have kind of a bad attitude about this? Okay, yes, I’m going to admit it. Not a terrible attitude, but not as open and welcoming as I might like to be, and certainly not as welcoming as Sanskrit Scholar (who, as I’ve mentioned before, is really a teacher by nature).

Okay, so we start practice and I wonder why I am so loose so early in the practice. DUH! It hits me: because it’s 10 AM, not 5:30 AM. I think I realized this a long time ago, but then forgot it and managed to experience it again today in a realization of the utterly obvious.

I think I’m putting off my story because I’m feeling bad about it. Okay: we do hanumansana and upavistha konasana after the prasaritas. As I am leaning forward into upavistha konasana–slowly and with some fear (because my hips/hamstrings are so weird lately, and prone to sudden pain) and attempting to really pay attention to the sensations–the gal behind me reaches forward and starts pressing down on my back. I scoot forward to get away, and she scoots right after me. I turn around and say I have a hamstring issue. She grabs my my legs. “No!” I say, shaking her off.

And of course I felt rude afterwards. But mostly I felt really irritated about this whole episode. Maybe I can’t practice with the yoga folk anymore. I am losing my socialization skills. I really don’t like it when people I don’t know touch me. This is true in real life and slightly adjusted in yoga situations, because I recognize the fact that yoga is “touchy.” It’s part of the culture, I guess. Though, truth be told, I find Ashtangis as a whole to be more reserved than other practitioners–less likely to bust out with lots of PDAs. But I do understand that the commonly accepted culture of yoga is one of softness and touchiness. The thing is, though, I am not in class to experience the “yoga lifestyle” (seriously, there’s reference to this on the Starbucks of Yoga promotional material). I am at Saturday led to do my practice. With my teacher.

I think Adjustment Gal probably wondered what the dealio was and if I was lying about the hamstring problem when Volleyball Guy came over and crushed me flat in ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana. But the plain old fact of the matter is: he’s my teacher. I work with him four days a week and I trust him. He knows what I have invested in my practice and he invests himself as my teacher. When Volleyball Guy gives an adjustment, he is listening intently. He does not approach it with ego. He totally respects your space, even as he gives close adjustments. It’s the perfect mesh of the impersonal and the intimate, with a dash of egolessness for boundaries.

And when I get adjustments from the Mysorians, I know they know what I have invested, and we both know that there are two objectives: 1) further the adjustee’s practice, and 2) give the adjuster a chance to work on adjustments. It’s experimental, it’s part of participating in the community, and it’s rooted in the understanding that everyone is clear about how important each individual’s practice is.

Wow, I’m not sure why I was rubbed the wrong way SO intensely, by what I am sure was a perfectly well-meaning attempt by Adjustment Gal to help me out. Something about it was off, though, and I think it may be that I didn’t like having someone presume to hand out a generic adjustment on someone they never saw before in their life. If it’s not a real adjustment (i.e., helpful to the individual, and significant enough, physically, to make an impact–and that implies a trust relationship that includes understanding the possibility of injury) then all it’s about is someone putting their hands on me for THEIR reasons. Whether it was to be helpful, to show she knew something, to practice her skills, it did not take into account MY relationship to the touch.

I guess I’m back around to whether touchiness from strangers is just something you have to live with in yoga. Pretty funny, if so–because while I am at a studio devoted to the “yoga lifestyle” (which presumably values this kind of touchiness), I am also going more deeply into my practice, which seems to push me further and further away from the “yoga lifestyle.” Is this part of my practice, that I’m getting too cranky to go out in public? 😉

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3 Responses

  1. Funny how a small act by “adjustment gal” can effect you so. Consider this:

    Two monks were once travelling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
    “Come on, girl,” said the first monk. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
    The second monk did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he said. “It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
    “I left the girl there,: the first monk said. “Are you still carrying her?”

  2. Dude! I couldn’t believe it bothered me so much!

    Such good zen teaching from my friends.

    Crim Girl said the answer was a slap.

    Katz! 🙂

  3. A “SLAP” may be too direct an approach. In a Zen practice, I would say it would be appropriate, even enlightening. It is not very Yogic however. Regardless, the point is “Let it Go, take a deep cleansing breath, and live in this momemnt. That one is long gone.” C U @ Mysore on Wed. AM

    Remind me not to push on your hamstring poses. If I do, SLAP ME… LOL

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