I’m a bit behind in my blogging because I had a deposition this morning and because I have been really enjoying my evenings after hot yoga with B this week – reading, talking, creating, and solving the world’s legal and financial problems. I’ve been only popping onto Facebook and checking out blogs for a few minutes here and there. So I need to catch up!
On Tuesday, I went to a Yoga Fundamentals class. I have to say that what is a basics or fundamentals class at one studio versus another varies widely. The class was unheated, but basically the only class I could grab at the time I wanted without leaving early or getting to the studio with 2 minutes to go and still needing to change. Also I LIKE keeping Fundamentals/Basics classes in my line up because I am still beginning. Maybe once I have six months of solid practice (whew, coming up sooner than my counting fingers expected), I will feel differently, but for now I find I am very well practiced in certain areas and maybe a little lazy or under-studied in others. Regular Basics keeps me rounded out and helps me continue to explore those areas that need some analysis – like Puppy!
One area is the transitions in Sun Salutation or (Surya Namaskara) A & B, a vinyasa flow I used to kind of dread (ok, I still kind of dread), but I also now kind of love. Inhale lift, exhale fold, inhale lift, exhale drop, inhale plank, exhale chaturanga, inhale upward facing dog, exhale downward facing dog.
But that silly darn leg that needs to sweep forward from a three legged dog to a lunge or warrior I evades me. I mean, I am getting closer, but I have a fair bit of stomach in the way. And THIS is where the good beginners teachers and the bad beginners teachers part ways. A good basics teacher will break it down, work on walking forward, work on crunching that leg in and extending it as much as you can before saying, now just stand up, adjust and move with your breath. A bad beginners teacher will somehow want to make this happen before its time. Given my aforementioned ability to OBSESS over getting a pose, I ignore this. My foot is making it into something like where it would fit in sprinters blocks, which is to say a lot closer than in June, but still halfway back from my hands. This is MAJOR progress and I can now get the foot there, stand with balance, and move the lunging/warrioring back foot back and square my hips, moving with my breath.
This is not to say a less than awesome basics teacher is not an amazing yoga teacher. Teaching fundamentals in a way that remains challenging and interesting is as much as an art, I think as teaching future teachers. And just as I would probably make an awful second grade teacher, but a pretty great professor (my ego says fluffily), so it goes with yoga. So I am trying NOT to judge, particularly when the fundamentals teacher gave me some great adjustments on my under practiced side angle pose (sorry, I like trikonanasa so much better and get lazy with the back bend!) and told me I was ready for more advanced classes. Because maybe what I need now as a more advanced beginner (Sanskrit, sun salutations, flow, heat, balance, legslegslegs!) is not what the people who signed up asking, “what is yoga?” want and need.
And here is where I am forced, by all that is holy in yoga, to give some major praise to my studio STY and my original basics teachers. I feel about my studio a lot the way I feel about my favorite educational institutions. Because of them, I can pretty much go anywhere. Oh, I will fail spectacularly, I will be behind or slow, but I am practiced and yes I can go for 60 minutes in the heat or a 90 minute vinyasa, or at least do SOMETHING in a three hour balance class. I am hopinghopinghoping for some more advantageous times with my original four teachers, but even when I don’t see them for a few weeks, I am always thanking them because my intro to yoga was a powerful introduction to YES I CAN.