Thursday, January 15, 2015

Back of the class

By Amy Baranski

Gratuitous yoga pose while on vacation once upon a time.
Wow 17 months since my last solo blog postIt feels strange to be back on this blogging platform.

I'm writing while my son works at the kitchen sink rinsing out his favorite household item, the Vitamix. Standing atop a wobbly chair circa 1890 high on his tiptoes, sometimes one-legged to maneuver the faucet. The water gets really hot too. Danger abounds. I'm so impressed by his natural ability to find his edge and the focus and persistence he maintains there. He always seems to push further exploring his environment and his place in it. I want to be just like him!

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After a two-year hiatus I returned to my Bikram practice almost a year ago. It has deepened so much of my life I'm extremely grateful to have returned. A few nights ago a student asked me why I always practice in the back of class. For the record I haven't always practiced in the back row, but recently I do place my mat in the same general area. This (ahem) happens to be in the back, under a fan, near a door. I rambled off something about not feeling prepared and following yoga etiquette, you know, reserving the front for the students with better postures, endurance, and such. The student gave me a "yeah, whatever" smile. I wasn't sure how to take that, and I couldn't believe I got called out.

Of course I obsessed. Why am I practicing in the back? I came up with a whole list of reasons!

I'm trying to stay anonymous. I feel vulnerable in the front. I have less self-criticism when I see my reflection from afar. (We practice in front of big mirrors; part of the Bikram practice is looking at yourself). I really haven't felt prepared lately. There was that one yoga party I went to...and I'm not entirely certain what I said to some other yoga students...so you know giving that whole experience some breath. I get to look at the photos of Bikram and Yogananda during Savasana, and you know, that's cool. I've been ok with feeling comfortable. This trend started after a consecutive 60 day yoga challenge and I just needed a break from being a "front row person". Yeah, so that's why.

The next night I moved to second row. (The front was filled).

It wasn't a class without many personal savasanas, but I worked harder. I felt more uncomfortable, but that felt good. I experienced more mental chatter, but I brought intention to my thoughts. I'm not sure where I'll practice tonight. I don't want a plan, but I don't want to fall back into the familiar either.

Maybe I'll just make things really uncomfortable and ask a front row person if I can take their spot. I can say something like, "You know, Bikram says we're supposed to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable."

The lesson I'm learning here is that discovery is all about rearranging. My son is constantly rearranging. Putting the top on the Vitamix then taking it off. Placing something in the blender and taking it out. Each time he discovers and delights in something new. I think I'll take his lead.

2 comments:

Kendra Hayes said...

Namaste, grrl

Melissa Baumgart said...

Amy! You look so beautiful here. In every way! And to think that this is before we really got "into" all the poses and every little muscle and tweak we can do to get into it in the correct form. You rocked it from day one, boo. Love you!