Saturday was Parker’s day to practice led Ashtanga with Saraswathi. As she came down the stairs to enter the Shala, I asked if it was okay to observe and let her know that I was Parker’s Mom. She nodded okay and then proceeded to the office and then minutes later was doing the opening chant. I was inside the Shala watching as there was some space to observe. There is something wonderful about these beginners as they are all take these teachings from the source. Some people have been practicing with Saraswathi for two years and some just two weeks. The mats laid out in uneven rows with practioners setting up in the space that calls them. As a group they seemed to move around and were a bit restless. Legs straight out in front or hugging them in or even standing, with only a few sitting quietly for the start. The journey is an evolution and the more you come to the mat, the more comfortable you are with coming to practice and learning about the energy of a group. The more you do self practice, you start to learn the ways to help yourself in practice. I think that here, in this place, is does not take long to be seasoned. This is what you come to do.
I did not have much of an inkling of how far Parker would be getting in the series. Every day something new was added so there was a built up over the week. Saraswathi was very attentive to Parker in such a strong loving way. He looked tight with a down dog that is not yet that comfortable. At the same time, he appeared attentive and confident. In just a few days he was developing a relationship with his teacher and she was watching to see how he was doing. One thing that is amazing is that with something so simple as showing up every day to the mat, how much progress and confidence one can develop. Those new uneasy awkward feelings can get set aside to make room for us to experiment and grow in the practice. There are no short cuts.
As she started the series, in the same way as her father before her, calling out Ekam, all the hands went up in unison. She had such a command of this beginner group of Ashtangis and they settled in quite nicely. She also had confidence in them to be able to do this practice. The way it is taught builds the confidence and the willingness to try. I was struck by how still they were in the asana once they got there and how they waited for the next count. Parker was assisted in Ardha baddha padmottanassa and was enourged by her to take his foot and go down. With her standing behind he reached for the floor touching with the tip of his finger, teetered a bit and when he came up did the other side. This is when you just do and trust. He did not seem to have a choice in the matter and this young man has put the trust there so that he can learn. It is not conscious and I think something that just happens when you leave aside all the reasons why you can’t and come to a place where you figure someone is going to teach you something.
When practioners paused, she repeated, “you do”, “jump back”, “catvari” or “okay stopping” motioned for them to sit. Somehow with little instruction you know the drill and then when back bending came everyone was encouraged to go up and they did. I could see Parker struggling and could identify with the difficulty of this asana. She assisted Parker several times and he got new poses added that day up to Purvattanasana. After back bending she guided his head to his knees adjusting on his shoulders firmly and he touched. I laughed to myself and felt so very blessed to have her help with influencing and teaching my son.
As they say, and as I have often experienced in raising my children through some challenging times, it takes a village. Right now I have Saraswathi, Sharath, Laksmish and all the yogis in this broad and diverse Ashtanga Yoga Community here in Mysore.