17-Take It Off The Mat

Today, I realized yet again how much Anusara yoga, and the teachings of Skeeter Tichnor, have helped me handle my life with grace and love. I haven’t taken a yoga class in a couple of weeks, and I haven’t been consistent with my home practice due to multiple factors. So, I didn’t have expectations going into class. Expecting less meant I was not trying to accomplish anything and was more receptive to the individual ideas shared by the teacher.

Having been a ballet dancer for so many years, and daily striving to reach the clouds with our head, our arms, and our legs, I was always uncomfortable being upside down. The fear of falling over backwards would paralyze me. The yoga classes on Maui are big on inversions, so I am learning to work with and through that fear. Today was no exception.

Today, Skeeter approached handstand differently, and I think the approach to it felt safer. We sprang from our knees or downward dog to a wide-legged stance. After several tries, and a little bit of floating into the position, I sprung forward, thinking only of the motion in my spine, and I found my legs swooping up into handstand. My body was in the right position, and it said, “Hey! Let’s go!” I freaked a bit and came down, but for a second I felt the absolute ease of going into handstand when the body and mind are aligned, as well as the natural inclination of the body to move in that direction. I love those breakthrough moments!

I have a visitor from Canada who has never taken an Anusara yoga class, and it’s his last day on the island, so I wanted to offer him the gift of taking Skeeter’s class. After class, I talked with both Skeeter about what is going on in my life, and to my guest about what I have learned through Skeeter’s classes and immersions. In my conversations with both, I found myself talking about the ego, speaking only from the heart, coming from a place of gratitude, and moving into the back body.

In a few short months of studying Anusara yoga principles both on and off the mat, I have learned to live with more  grace and surrender. I am realizing all over again how much the concepts of yoga that I have embraced are helping me stand still in the midst of the storm and move gracefully through the stillness as I navigate this fascinating world in which we co-exist.