First dates

Got your attention? Disclaimer: this is not a post about my dating life – at least not really – but I hope you’ll still stay with me.  What I’m writing about can apply to everyone.

Of all the great teachers that I got to interact with at the Yoga Journal conference, Giselle Mari left the greatest impression on me.  Since her adjustments workshop, I keep thinking about how I can apply some of her self-described ‘nuggets’ of wisdom to my teaching, practice and life.

Back to the title.  As yoga teachers, when we think about adjusting our students, we’re on the look out for a number of things.  Making our way up from the base of a pose – feet, knees, hips, chest, shoulders – we search for ways to give our students more ease and stability in their postures.  But what do we do on our own?  If I’m in a class and the teacher says vrksasana (tree pose), I get into it.  I always do it the same way – shifting my weight into one foot, engaging my lower abs to lift my leg, exerting equal force between my raised foot and the thigh of my standing leg, turning my gaze and arms up towards the ceiling.  Giselle turned this habit on its head, asking us if we ever stop to look at our poses as though we’d never done them before.  She told us we should stop and look at our poses as though we were on a first date with them.

There are a lot of reasons why this analogy works well for my asana practice right now.  First, we barely see each other – since the year began I’ve averaged a practice every two weeks.  Second, I’m not sure where it’s going to end up – I’m in a new city, so I’ve got to check out some of my options.  Last, when we do meet, I have to pay attention and listen – I never know what my body is going to tell me as it adjusts to a new type of regular practice.

I’m into it; I’m going to start dating my yoga poses.  Great idea put into practice, check.

But the reason I love this idea and want to share it with you is that it’s an analogy you can apply to many things in life.  Truthfully,  I seldom approach anything with a ‘first date’ mentality (yes, even first dates!).  I have expectations about how most experiences will (or at least should) unfold, and have written several posts about the implications of this (here and here).  So far, even though I think I’ve become much more aware of my expectations,  it’s pretty safe to say that I haven’t managed to transcend them and live in every moment (for example, as I write this, I am also thinking about dinner).  But it doesn’t have to be such a big deal.  Everyday there are opportunities to stop ourselves before doing something we know how to do.

So, I put it to you: what aspect of your life would you like to take on a first date? What are you waiting for!?!





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