Tightropes and Sages

9 Feb


My teacher Emily is amazing, wonderful, insightful, and really really tough. Since she is at Laughing Lotus in New York, I don’t get to practice with her as often as I  would like, but on Tuesday she happened to be in San Francisco, so I had the opportunity to learn from her deep wisdom. Her class focused on how we are attached to certain outcomes. She used myth and metaphor but kept bringing us back to attention around our insistence on fulfilling a certain set of desires. She used poses as examples, specifically Visvamitrasana. It is a more advanced version of a compass pose, encapuslating a side bend, back bend, twist, and balance. Look it up, it’s crazy hard, and stunningly beautiful. It is also too advanced for my current ability, but she showed a couple steps to get there that make it seem more accessible.

The thread of the teaching, though, was not the pose but rather our attachment to how we felt about our attempt of the pose; our need to do it perfectly or our refusals to try for fear of failure.

It got me thinking about all the challenges we are presented with everyday. Some people hold theirs deep and hidden and others wear them for the world to see. I’ve mentioned before that I am 50lbs overweight. I have been doing a lot of  soul searching in relation to my body. I can be pretty self conscious about it, especially when faced with challenges like Visvamistrasana. I beat myself up about not having enough self control  or comparing myself to others that I will never be like. Emily’s class left me with some food for thought, constant focus and and practice should not be obsession. Her mantra was the tightrope between acceptance (of a pose, a habit, a physicality, a situation), where you are at with it, and the daily practice to meet your edge everyday.

Visvamistrasana is one of the sage poses and like any person that embarks on a journey to understanding, has so much to teach if you are open to the lessons. My challenge for 2013 seems to be the delicate balance of constant attention and letting go, not just for my body but in most parts of my life.


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