Reflections on being a Student

Today started my first day of practice at the Ashtanga Yoga Center with Tim Miller. The morning actually started with a round of pranayama and we were given a choice to do it as they have been doing or an easier version of the sequence. Since many of us are guests for two weeks and we officially start our training at noon, we went with the standard, experienced, hard core version. It certainly is quite an experience to practice this with one of the masters of pranayama as Tim learned this from Guruji many years ago. I am over the fact that I could die holding my breath and have ways to take whatever breath I need to continue but it was really hard. I will pay attention these next days with Tim and this is something I am going to practice. Feels good, feels right and puts my body at ease.

Speaking of ease, I made a conscious decision that I was not going to hold myself so tight today and create more stress in my body. I was here to experience the teachings here and not to judge myself. These days it seems that every day I step on the mat I have some stress that does not seemed to be relieved by practice. I feel like I make it worse by stressing over the fact that I cannot relax certain areas of my body. I have rushed practices, early practices and then practices when I would rather be having a nice lunch or nap. Not easy with all this mind stuff going on, so these next two weeks I get to be a student and to focus on going within and to try to practice some yoga. How great is that? When I was at AYNY this past January, I said to Eddie that it is great to teach and to be sharing the teachings, great to practice but the best life is that of the student. He could not agree more.

I practiced primary series today and something happened. I relaxed, I breathed and I stayed with my drishti a lot of the time, (the guy doing third was pretty awesome to watch however). The room at AYC is really cool and we line up facing each other. The room is pretty with nice light and I felt comfortable there and at home strangely enough. Being a practitioner for a long time and knowing the proper vinyasa helps so much even though many practitioners are doing their research poses, I did not get distracted by it. Tim and Natasha work the room and true to form and like I always say you always, always get what you need in the Mysore room. Tim’s adjustment in a standing asana was well received and so right on and then Natasha’s adjustment in Marichasana C was again so much of what I needed. My breath was erratic in the twist and she helped me to calm the breath so that I could relax into the asana. She stayed with me for a while so I could feel the relaxing of my body in the asana and then she took me deeper.

Back bending being my obsession and even thought they are hard for me I have been enjoying the process. I did them in my normal fashion and then Tim came over after observing them, we did the drop backs. I paused and he said “to the head” and my head touched the mat. It was the easiest time I have every had with this and I stayed in my legs and on the final I danced my hands in and he sort of let me find the balance there. He helped me to find the space with his adjustment and when I came up I said, ” I see”.

The forward bend reminded of me when I cried some time ago but I did not this time. I thoroughly enjoyed Natasha’s massage like quality and I was very serene and calm. I finished and as I walked down the stairs to my car, I knew I was right were I was supposed to be. I am so very grateful for that and for feeling that every decision I made to come here, committing to this training was going with the flow of my life.

Tim Hannuman Chalisa

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