Last week, my daughter, who is three-weeks into kindergarten, won "Cougar of the Month" at her school. Cougars are her school mascot. Lucia was bestowed the honor, her teacher said, "because 99.999 percent of the time, Lucia is doing what she is supposed to be doing in kindergarten." Was I proud? Extremely!!! The teacher also said other things like, "Lucia is friendly to everyone, she helps without being asked...." But, nestled within my radiant pride, I also carried a smidge of concern that Lucia might be a super-conformer. Is she a kindergarten automaton? Or, is she just good at following directions? I've been thinking a lot about this.
Here's what I figured out. Lucia loves school. She asked on Saturday why she had to have such a long vacation from school. "I wish Sunday was Monday," she whined. Like me, Lucia relaxes in structure. If I know the plan, I'm open to anything. If it is wide and vast and unformulated, I'm not my best self. Maybe this is why I like Bikram Yoga. Same 2 breathing exercises and 26 postures every time. Every single time you practice you do the same thing. For 16 years, sometimes daily, sometimes less, I have been doing the same 2 breathing exercises and 26 postures. Lucia in school. Me in my Yoga practice. Sameness, structure, expectations. These things create and hold a form that allows each of us to relax into the experience and find newness, excitement, and ultimately joy.
I've experienced the gamut of physical sensations and emotional hills and valleys in my Yoga practice, but I've never been bored. Really. Every practice I experience differently. For example, last night, I was worried about practicing because my class the day before had been really difficult. So last night, I set my intention to focus on that practice and try not to bring the previous practice baggage with me. I stood somewhere new in the room, really close to the teacher (Kristen). Her fabulous turquoise outfit was surely a distraction, but I managed to focus and work hard in spite of it. I followed every single thing she said. I always try to do this, but, like everyone, sometimes I get distracted. Last night was different. Word by word, step by step, I let myself be carried through the 90 minutes. I learned so much! Like Lucia and kindergarten, I could hardly wait to do it again.