As we embarked on our second weekend intensive last Saturday morning, I had an inkling that this was not going to be an easy one; After a busy, stressful week, my hips felt Gorilla-glued into their sockets, and the tendons running through my shoulders were tighter than new guitar strings. As if to validate my fears, Pete announced we were starting our practice with four inversions, followed by a “really long standing series.”
At some point during the next hour, when I was holding what seemed like the hundredth pose in said series, and ready to collapse into the copious pool of sweat I has amassed on the mat below me, Pete’s voice came through my fog of indigence, urging me to “explore whatever is coming up in this moment.”
What came up first was the urge to use the little energy I had left to kick his a**…
Yogis are only human, after all.
Instead, I breathed a big, angry lion’s breath and used the little energy I had left to “get curious” about the fiery sensations in my left hip. Where was all this intensity coming from? What was I holding onto? Did I have to suffer? It helped… a little.
At the end of the morning session, Pete congratulated us, saying, not once, but twice, “You are all stronger than you thought you were.” As I looked around the room, I noticed I was not the only tired yogi rolling up her sweaty mat. We had all been challenged, purposely, by this practice.
The theme of that day’s teacher training was “speaking your truth.” As he had in the morning practice, Pete pushed us to confront the heavy stuff of yoga, teaching, and life head on, discovering and honoring our truth in each moment.
It was not without a healthy sense of purpose the next morning that Pete announced that day’s theme would be “finding pleasure.”
And find pleasure we did; laughing our way through the pitfalls of teaching simple poses and offering assists; realizing, with a sense of joy, how much we have to learn.
And so we continue along this path, pushing ourselves to the edge sometimes, only to realize that what lies beyond the edge is not the abyss we feared, but rather a new landscape to be explored, with a clearer view and a lighter heart.
– Mara Saunders