Today marked class number seven of twenty-one. My body has reminded me throughout the day that it has done a lot of moving this week. I am sore between my shoulders and in my arms, my neck feels more open than it has in months as do my hips, and I have been sleeping one to two hours more than my usual amount for the last few nights. After a night of wild dreams I awoke this morning with a smile and a deep feeling of ease and happiness, a nice respite from the sorrow of this past week.
At noon I joined what felt like all of Taos for Clint’s yoga hour class. It was, and always is, so much fun to do yoga in a full room, and today I think there were more than twenty-five of us. When the space is full of bodies the energy is higher and deeply palpable. As an owner of the studio, a full to the brim class is also a testament to the value of the offerings of our small business and the continued excellence of teaching at Shree, which brings me deep gratitude.
I love attending Clint’s classes. I love attending any yoga class really, and all have something of value to offer, however Clint’s voice is like listening to the voice of my deepest conscience, which I guess says something about me. I find the low tone of his voice to be sweetly soothing to my nerves and his insights touch my heart like the warmest hug. Clint opened class today with a parable, “The student asked the teacher, ‘When will I master this practice?’ The teacher said, ‘You will never master this practice’.” Clint added, “nor will you master life”. For life is always changing, and like the practice, one does not need to master it to benefit from it and enjoy it’s rewards.
Sustained practice over a long time enables one to effectively execute actions and responses that empower oneself and others. This is the fundamental purpose of yoga, the Spring Yoga Challenge, and any practice that one disciplines themselves to. The reward is not in mastering the practice, rather it is in finding ones way back to authenticity and alignment with ones highest morals and values when one has miss-stepped. The reward is in knowing the difference between, and executing the action of, respondability versus reactivity. Respondability happens when you are aware of your ability to choose your response to any given situation, and to choose the next right thing, the best possible choice, that which takes you to your fullest most radiant version of self right now. The practice, whatever it may be, allows the opportunity to apply the successful use of the tools learned in that discipline to enable and support your highest good in action, be it plank, handstand, compassion, or forgiveness, etc. Perhaps a level of mastery may not be reached however, in the effectiveness of your skillful action you can experience personal growth and the joy of immeasurable reward.
Though class this afternoon was basic and simple in its physical practice, there was an extremely advanced teaching being offered. Bea Doyle, a brilliant yoga teacher in Albuquerque whom I did my teacher training with taught me that an advanced yogi is not someone who can touch their toes to their head. Rather an advanced yogi is someone who can move with skill in action. In yoga asana, skill in action starts with the basics, the foundation of the pose and knowing where the four corners of your hands and feet are. For myself skill in the action of a peaceful and happy life is knowing that I get to choose what I think, and as Clint so kindly reminded us today in class it is also knowing that the breath is our friend, always available for us, always willing to support us and embrace us for as long as we are living.
This afternoon I am deeply grateful to Clint, and all of the spectacular teachers at Shree for being awesome and beautiful in their true humility and skillful, excellent teachings. Tonight, I will think of them all in a hot bath to sooth my aching muscles.
Lots of love, all ways, for giving,