Thursday, October 18, 2012

Find some stillness in your stillness

On Tuesday, I took Katy's 6am class. For those of you who don't know Katy, she is lovely. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of her. She is authentic, positive, nurturing, and a damn good yoga teacher. Katy's strengths as a teacher are similar to her strengths as a person. She's authentic, positive, and nurturing. At 6am, this is especially important. To go from deep sleep to Bikram Yoga is not an easy process.

On Tuesday, the class was hot, humid, and full of bodies, so there was the usual intensity you'd expect in a Bikram class. Katy is statuesque and incredibly strong. She's also graceful, and really at home in her body. This strength and confidence gives her the ability to hold the energy of an intense class. She's unapologetic about the toughness of Bikram practice, but also sends the message of acceptance. Like many of us teachers, she makes sure to convey the message, "Be where you are. Every day your body is different."

During the first Savasana after the standing series, Katy was helping us to relax our bodies. She threw out a few instructions, "relax your muscles", "be still in your body." And then she said, "Be still in your stillness", and then chuckled, "if that makes any sense."

It was only later that day when I was teaching a big group of sweaty, intense students, trying to be confident, clear and strong enough to hold the energy in the room, that I had a flash of those words in my mind, "Be still in your stillness." That's so good. As a student, it is relatively easy (some days more than others) to follow the teacher's instructions to keep our bodies still. But most of us know that there is an entirely different ball game going on in the mind. The body is still and the mind is at Wild Waves with a forty ouncer. --- "I have a drip of sweat about to drip into my ear." "The woman next to me must have had a ton of garlic last night." "I wonder who left those bobby pins on the floor next to my mat." "Would it be okay if I served red wine with salmon?" Stillness? What stillness?

It's been a long time since I've been teaching and practicing and it's a thrill when I hear something that helps me in both realms. I relate to simple instructions. "Be still in your stillness" is so dang clear. But like different teachers, sometimes different words help get a message across. The body still. The mind still. Duh!!!! It's like washing the car and cleaning the inside. So much better. So much more complete. Thanks for the clarification Katy.


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