Physically, today has probably been my most challenging day. From the moment i sat on my mat at 5am this morning and felt pain in my backside, I knew I was in for a rough day. Emotionally too - when I woke and looked at a picture of my Owen at home, I felt quite sad and lonely. So I think the combination of heightened emotions plus physical and mental exhaustion has made today a more difficult day than normal. Our teacher is always reminding us that we will experience fluctuations in emotions, health, strength etc whilst training, so no doubt this also has something to do with it also - but mostly I just miss him.
I have just come from a really trying practice (what’s new). Some time ago I gave myself a goal to successfully move into and hold Kakasana. Well - I’m still not there and I keep beating myself up about it. I’m aware I shouldn’t do this, but sometimes you cant help but feel like a failure when you try and try and still can’t find the strength and focus the posture requires. What I have learned since being here, is that these postures often have nothing to do with strength. Any fit, strong person can possibly move into it postures like Kakasana. But it’s when you move into the posture with a conscious awareness of all the parts of the body which are activated and working in duality to get you up that you have successfully achieved it. I’m clearly not at that point yet!
My teacher is very encouraging but that only makes me feel worse as i can’t help but feel I am disappointing him. I know this is untrue and need to get a hold on these unhelpful thoughts. (Again, aware its an overly emotional, and therefore irrational day for me). I guess that’s just what’s real for me at the moment is all.
My entire body hasn’t stopped shaking today. A combination of squatting against a wall with knees bent and hands overhead for 5 or more minutes, legs raises, single leg balancing asanas and sitting for hours, has left my legs weak. Basic balancing postures like Garudasana (eagle) and Vrksasana (tree) have been extremely difficult for me. Normally these are fine however upon reflection I am aware I have never pushed myself the way i have been pushed here - hence my legs have had reserve strength for when I move into these asanas. Tonight I could feel the sweat dripping down my back as I did by best to keep my body uplifted and strong. Never before has my body been worked so hard. No gym class, PT class, jogging or weights session has ever come close to the level of work and effort you put into holding your own weight. it’s phenominal what can be achieved.
Tonight, when class ended, our teacher spoke to the group in a way which left me feeling truly inspired. Firstly, he said “if your entire body is in pain, then the training is working”. That made me feel a little better! He told us that a mountain looks beautiful from afar, but it can be difficult to climb, however once at the top, the view is magnificent. This is what we are going through now. We are climbing that mountain - Everest!
Our teacher is very gentle in how he speaks. He assures we are not to force ourselves into a posture, but to feel it. I love this and will be sure to remember this when teaching others. Our teacher also made it very clear that he is there for us. Should we have any questions or concerns, he is available. He told us that through making mistakes and asking questions we can learn. If we know everything, then he cannot teach us as there is nothing to teach - so it is expected that we come with many questions. I have a book full ready to go! I may need to block out an hour or so ;)
Finally, our teacher talked about why we need to study so intensely everyday - to know the asanas inside and out. The Sanskrit name, the limitations and benefits, technique, common mistakes and variations. He explained that we are no longer beginners, We are training to become teachers and in doing so it is our responsibility to educate others, to share our knowledge. So we must know these things. I find it really exciting when he refers to us as teachers. Not only am I thrilled my own practice is deepening so much, but i am thrilled that I will be able to share this experience with many others to come.
Well - i need to fall into a state of unconsciousness now before my heart stopping alarm goes off at 4am in the morning again. Then i can repeat this all again!