May coming into June. Another transition. This time last year BYUV was still in lockdown. The teachers were taking turns coming into the studio, two at a time, to live stream and record classes. We followed a calendar and made sure that every time one of us taught, another of us was there for back-up, whether to help iron out technology glitches (or stare in tandem blankly at the screen), to sanitize the studio (because after all, two yoga teachers can create quite a mess), or simply to be a student, and join you in your homes to practice together.
Now, a year later we’re getting ready to take many giant steps forward. New teachers coming into the fold. Increased class sizes. No masks. Smiling, sweaty, blissed-out faces from the eyes down to the chin. New classes on the schedule. Even, Kapalbhati Breathing at the end of an OHY class.
Many, many times over the last year I’ve had to ask myself, as have many of you, I’m sure, what is my practice? Why do I practice what I practice? Why do I teach what I teach? What sustains me. I’ve been practicing yoga now since 1995, and still, I ask these questions. I’ve been teaching since 1999, and still, I ask these questions. I asked them in Washington, In Alaska, In Oregon, In India, In Hawaii, in California, in Vermont. The answers are wide-ranging and vary depending on the day, the month, the year, the season, and how much sleep I’ve gotten.
My knees hold up after 6, 8 hours in the car.
When my father asks, for the fourth time, if we live in Woodstock, I am able to answer calmly and with a smile, that yes, we live in Woodstock.
Walking in the park across the street from our house with my father’s dog at 5:30 am, and watching the early sun touch the tops of pines and the dark pink blossoms of the cherry trees at the crest of the rise. That early morning quiet, except for the song sparrow trilling away on the lilac.
When a student shares a breakthrough, a triumph, a step back, a confusion, a question, an insight.
When a fellow teacher describes the purpose of a posture or a concept of yoga in a way that I’ve never heard, but makes perfect sense and augments my own understanding of what we do together as teachers, as students.
Finding that elusive stillness, steadiness, solidity of a posture, and holding it just so, in breath, before letting it go in breath. Knowing that in letting it go I may never find it again.
Practicing not only what I know, but what I am willing to discover.
How is this year different, how is it the same? Does being able to come back to the studio to take a class alter my perception of my practice at home? Has practicing at home altered what I do in the studio? Is the discipline to carve out space and time at home different from the discipline I need to show up in person after a long day at work or is it the same? Does it matter? How will my yoga continue to evolve, literally changing shape in my physical body, and pushing out the boundaries of what I once believed was possible?
The answers may once again change over this next year. In fact, I would bet on it. One thing, however, remains certain. I look forward to finding them in your company.