Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

22Feb/090

Lineage of Yoga & Elephant Jackets

Yesterday I spent the day at the Portland Dharma Center as part of a small workshop on the theme Upholding the Sangha Treasure. I've been drained from the intensity of yoga teacher training and this was my only Saturday off since beginning of the year. In some ways it was the most focused discussion I've ever been a part of with Sangha members and I finished it just aching from the attention, the searching, the thinking, and often feeling like I wasn't doing a very good job.

CK had come down with a cold Friday evening and I was exhausted mentally & physically when I returned from the workshop. After minimal discussion I phoned Dalo's and placed an order. Once we'd enjoyed injera with the veggie platter (spicy lentils, mild split peas, cabbage/carrot/potato, and spinach/onion) we felt up to popping into the video store. Wall-E in hand we went home and curled up to watch it.

I'd wanted to catch Wall-E in the theater, but it didn't work out. I've heard and read nothing but good things about it since the release. I'd already purchased a copy of 'Down to Earth' to put on my iPod (well, that's more due to my decade-long appreciation of Peter Gabriel). It was really comforting to finally get to settle down and watch it, especially when I really felt the need for a quiet night. It was as beautiful, charming, and thoughtful as I'd heard.

Today I woke up feeling kind of shaky, not sure if I'm coming down with CK's cold, but my head hurt and I felt drained. I did not want to go teach yoga. It was certainly a morning where the commitment to teaching, the fact that people will show wanting me to teach them, sustains my practice. Without the knowledge that students would arrive starting at 11AM I would have easily crawled back under the covers the rest of the day.

That knowledge propelled me into the shower and out the door to Dishman. A brand new student arrived who'd decided to try a class out since she'd gotten tired of her DVDs at home. Dove's Mom, Claudia is visiting from Eureka. It is always a delight to see both of them. We did some side opening, hip opening, and several poses for the core muscles. I ended the class with the challenge of half-moon pose.

After class there were smiles and people telling me how much better they felt than at the beginning. I too felt better, I nearly always do feel better after teaching a class. It is those classes where the disciple of practice and the respect for my students brings me to the mat, but I just let myself be a vehicle for the five thousand years of history. At those times I am grounded, centered in the practice of upholding the lineage of teaching asana.

When class was over, as people were gathering up their stuff to go, Zoe held up a marvelous white jacket asking if anyone would like to have it before she donated it to Goodwill. The jacket has embroidered patches featuring elephants, beads and small bells. It had been a gift to her from a friend but she no longer wore it. I asked to try it on and everyone still there smiled, saying I had to keep it.

And so I did. I believe I'll be wearing it at the "graduation" party when teacher training ends. I look forward to a suitably festive ZCO event to wear it to in the future.

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