Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yoga- not for the 'sweet' of heart...

I know it’s not very nice out now. I’m looking at the flag outside my window and it’s become so soaked it’s all caught up in itself and looking more like dirty laundry than a sign of patriotism. That’s what I’m going to look like in a few hours when I head out to teach charity yoga in the park. Now I realize no one is going to show up for my session in the park in this weather and I realize I’m going to look a little crazy standing out in the rain doing headstands and all my pretzel poses, but I’m still going to go (And not just because I’m the one teaching and organizing it), because yoga in the rain is a really great opportunity to be present.

It’s also a great opportunity to be not present.

It kind of fits because I’ve been thinking about how I will get my students to be more present when I teach them and also how to get people I spend time with to be present too. If someone ever asks why yogis insist on doing all their crazy poses it’s not because they’re showing off (usually), it’s because when you challenge yourself physically you force your mind to be quiet and focused and whether you know it or not you are being present. I’d say this works about 50% of the time. The other 50% it actually causes a person’s mind to go into hyper drive. They start questioning why they’re doing this hard activity or thinking about where they’d rather be. Both effects can be good. If the practice causes their mind to clear then Yay! Goal achieved. In contrast if it causes their brain to start shouting it also offers a great opportunity for a person to take a look at their thoughts and ask themselves why they’re getting so irate. This gives them a chance to sit with their discomfort and learn to be present with it.
What happens more often though, and the reason I know no one will show up tonight, when people do something that challenges and they find they are having a mental reaction of either silence or irritation they become uncomfortable with this new sensation and reject it. They then vow that they did not like this activity, it sucks, and they will not do it again. That’s the typical human response to all things that make them uncomfortable. And that’s how I know I will be the only ‘crazy’ one standing on my head in the park tonight. Which, from a ‘logical’ point of view, makes sense. Who stand in the rain? But from another perspective it’s 15 degrees C out right now. There’s not a ton of wind and the rain is less than you would experience in the shower. This isn’t going to be the thing that kills me. I’m not sugar, I won’t melt. But it makes people uncomfortable and it makes them present.

I just found out I’ve been accepted for a position at Algonquin College. They’re opening a new Kickboxing/Boxing facility and starting in September I will have the pleasure of teaching classes two nights a week. I’m pretty excited about this because it’s outside the usual realm of yoga and I’ll get to bring yoga to a new group of people. Now I have to come up with a quick blurb about what Hatha Yoga is for their website or newsletter or something. Hmmm, should be an interesting one to sum up.

In the meantime, I’ll be outside if your looking for me. I’ll be the soggy one balancing on one foot, just standing there enjoying the moment.

*Squishy hugs*