Day 57 with Kyoko was great not because of all that I did in class but because of a conversation that I had with a fellow student before class. We tend to get very into ourselves as we set up for class and dive into the yoga zone. I like to smile at other students when I walk into the hot room because they know, like no one else, the struggle I am about to face. Like me, they willingly put themselves up for the most challenging 90 minutes of their day. Today I walked by a student who I exchange encouraging pleasantries with on a regular basis. I remember she had a particular challenge during our first posture clinic together a few weeks back and I wondered if I could offer her something.
Now I’m not a teacher–not yet–and I don’t purport to be one. I tend to stay within myself and learn from the minuscule adjustments I make throughout class. Sometimes seeing another practitioner in a posture helps me figure out how to improve mine and just as often there are times when I want to point something out to someone that the teacher wasn’t able to reach. In this case, my fellow yogi had shared her difficulty with the last part of awkward pose in the standing series posture clinic and I thought I might have a way for her to do the posture with less trouble.
In the last part of awkward, people tend to go too high on their toes as they squeeze their knees together–kind of continuing the ballerina stance of the part before. I suggested that she squeeze her knees together and let her feet naturally lift up as she went down. We tried it a few times side by side and she said she would see how it worked for her in class.
I went through class with an added feeling that I might have made a difference for someone. In turn Kyoko relentessly put us through the paces and I pushed to see how far I could go in postures that stress my lower back. Up until that freak bedtime injury, I’d promised myself I would begin to push myself to work my hamstring by at least the 60th day. Today, as I was gingerly testing my hamstrings, my concern traveled further up into my lower right back. A day or so away from that party massage and it was not cooperating. I modified in padahastasana, the forward bend after half moon and the back bend, making sure I bent my knees and sucked in my stomach for dear life. That is supposed to support the lower back. I could not do the full posture so I hung out during both sets, pulling my body into as much of a sandwich as I could.
The back issues were noticeable until standing bow where either I love the posture so much that I just don’t care or I just don’t stress my lower back as much. It isn’t until the end of floor series during head to knee with stretcheing where I have to ease up on the pulling and spine twist where I notice something is off. Thankfully by then I’m almost done with only breathing to go.
After class, as I walk in my yoga haze, obsessing about water and Emergen-C, the student I had made the suggestion to came up to me and told me that my recommendation made a huge difference for her. She was able to get down lower in the asana and would keep practicing at home. All of a sudden, I wasn’t so exhausted. Giving back gives you far more than you put it. It gives you wings.