My current Everest

A few years after I started practicing yoga, I started to notice little habitual movements I had formed in class.  I would scratch my head during awkward/utakatasana, take an extra breath or three before lifting my leg in eagle/garurasana, and the biggest tick of all, suddenly becoming tired right before rabbit/sasangasana when I had been just perfectly fine a few seconds before (and then skip a set).

Despite becoming aware of them, some of these ‘ticks’ continued.  Fortunately, as a teacher, I am forced into facing my own weaknesses and quirks.  Because one thing I never wanted to be was hypocritical when I would ask students to challenge themselves.

So as part of my ‘service’ in this yoga progression, I will share with you what I am working on right now.

I have always struggled in rabbit, hence my reaction to it in class. I would look on with sadness when people are able to get the posture correctly because I wanted to feel so badly what they felt in the posture too.  When I am in it, I feel like a drowning rat.  Tucked chin, compressed belly, holding onto the heels, while sweat is dripping in my nose.  Yay.  Not.

Earlier this year, I’ve decided to dedicate more time in understanding the posture and let go of my built up limitations (long spine, horrible forward bends, the list goes on..).  Finally, I felt that extension of the spine I never had before!  Although it was short-lived, I was able to taste and feel what I was missing out on for almost six years.  Six years!!!

With the decision to open myself up to rabbit (figuratively and literally), I started picking up knowledge that I ignored in the past.  Like earlier this evening, a fellow teacher with similar woes sent me some notes from a senior teacher’s seminar (thanks, Jo) and instead of having an avoidance reaction, I am excited to try them!

So maybe I was supposed to feel like a drowned rat until I let go of my inhibitions.  Who knows.  But I do know that I have new things to try in my next class.

And perhaps this post can inspire you to let go and try something that’ll challenge you.  You never know what you may discover 🙂

Gloria Suen, 2012 International Yoga Champion

Gloria Suen, 2012 International Yoga Champion

Photo courtesy of IYSF.

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Dusting off

It’s been awhile since I’ve given a proper post.  I’ve been wordless, but I haven’t been absent.  I come every now and then, but no words would come.  So I lurked, read, liked, and absorbed behind the scenes.

I could’ve easily written about yoga or a recipe, but it didn’t feel honest enough.  So tonight, on a rainy Monday, I write once again.  This time, it feels right.

I’d like to say that my practice hasn’t been much to write about, but selfishly, I’ve kept it all to myself.  There came a point shortly after I started teaching when I just did not want to talk about my yoga.  Maybe because it was my turn to listen to others talk about their practice.  Maybe it’s all part of the teaching process.  Maybe I just needed a break from words, written and spoken, and just practice.  

I was also tired of the inspiring posts and quotes and trusting the process.  I didn’t want to see a picture of a yoga posture, no matter how beautiful.

I’ve been keeping a distance.  From the yoga community – both around me and online.  I’ve also been hiding – behind an injury, behind reasons insufficient in the past that have now become valid enough.  

But now, the time feels right to dip my toes again.  To really be on my mat.  Unroll the it wherever I can. and rebuild what had been lost.

So back to the yoga I go.  And hopefully, some words can be shared too.