It’s the end of my first week of practice in India. Angst, missing my family, all the unknowns and cultural differences abound. My acceptance to being here for this small chunk of time sinking in. Any new enlightenment? Any specific change? I’m too overwhelmed to really know that yet. However, I chuckle, because of course, I get the same message repeated to me that I’ve heard since just about my first yoga class, years ago. Chill out. Be lazy. Stop trying so hard. Yes this week Sharath and a few assistants in the shala told me mainly above any other minor adjustment to my practice to relax. Relax. As soon as I heard the word come out of Sharath’s mouth all I could think of was the old Frankie Goes To Hollywood song Relax. I then experienced a classically cringe worthy moment where I actually said through my intensity, in a rather snarky tone, “Easy for you to say!” Yeah, so here I am working on all this good mindfullness, deepening my practice, spirituality, etc. and I basically get defensive and sulky. Nice. I’m chuckling at myself, at my frailties.
Relax. Well, my constitution is not wound to relax, not naturally at least. I had a phenomenal ashtanga teacher, who openly admitted his past students in Hawaii had nicknamed him devil teacher in Japanese…let’s just say he’s well known to take you to your edge and find your potential. Soon after starting to practice with him, he came up to me and told me to be lazy in my practice. He said these words were not something anyone would believe he would say to a student. I believe him now, after he
tortured pushed me to my limits and transformed my practice, really showing me how strong I am, if I don’t let my fears and speed take over my breath. I can even sometimes remember to relax, I sure want too, it would be nice to do, in practice versus theory..
When I was pregnant 19 years ago, with my oldest, I was put on bed rest. In my naturally fidgety state it was so hard, but I chose to read every last parenting book I could get my hands on. When my daughter was born, I was going to be an expert. Yep, that was the plan. I thought I knew everything, how the birth would go, no tv ever, feeding, sleeping, diapers, you name it, I was confident.
Well naturally nothing went as planned, except of course the best part of having a beautiful heathy baby, and by some miracle easy breast feeding. I’m pretty sure I was in a state of shock for much of the first month or so and vividly recall my husband getting home from work one night and I was in tears. He asked me what happened, what was wrong? I told him that all the baby books had claimed by this state in development I should be able to discern the different cries of my precious infant, hunger, tired, diaper, cuddle, burp, all the baby’s needs by the subtle changes in her cries. I all heard though was crying, loud and from mid afternoon on, relatively consistent. I felt like a failure as a mom, and my child was only 2 months old. Alas so much for all my expert reading. My husbands advice was to throw away the books and just love her:-)
By the time my son came along two and a half years later, and every noise he made bizarrely spoke to me, cry, I’m hungry, cry, I’ve got gas, cry I’m tired, cry, hold me. I laughed remembering my earlier feelings of failure. Either I had gotten better at it, or my son was just wired more like a text book baby. Regardless, I had quite a bit more practice at this parenting thing that no book could have taught me without the practical experience. I think I was more relaxed:)
Hopefully for led primary with Sharath at 4:30 am I will be relaxed, at least I know I will be spent if not relaxed when it’s done!