“This class is like a holdup – just do what I say and nobody gets hurt”

“It’s all there in the dialogue – that’s all most people should ever need.”

One of our teachers said that to me the other day, and it got me thinking. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten or asked for any corrections, and it’s also been a while that I feel like my practice is stronger is many ways even if I’m not going as deep as I used to, and then I realized: The difference is that I’m not thinking about it any more. I’m not analyzing my practice, I’m not looking at each step of each posture as a specific physical task constituting a step in a posture, and I’m not thinking about yesterday’s class and whether or not I’m progressing or setting expectations and standards for myself nearly as much as I used to. I’m just there, in the room, breathing, and following the dialogue. Not just listening to the teacher, but actually following the dialogue, letting that fill up my head and take my attention rather than anything else.

That, for me at least, is the yoga part of my practice rather than the postures. Being able to switch my mind off enough to let my breath and the dialogue be the only things filling my consciousness is the hardest part of class, and the part I’ve been struggling with for ten years (and still do on some days). Ironically, it’s also the part that lets me go further into the postures (because I’m not overthinking them any more), and thus is most rewarding both physically and mentally. The big challenge for me now is getting my mind settled down into that from the first breath, and keeping it there for the full 90 minutes, no matter what else happens in the room.

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