Yesterday morning at Yoga National Guard was mostly spent in practice. David taught Kali Ray Triyoga, which I’d never heard of before but, it turns out, is very close to the style of yoga I’ve been teaching for years.
Triyoga is essentially “flow” yoga – allowing the breath to dictate the movement and flowing from one pose, through a transition, into another pose as the breath moves. I taught (teach) this way intuitively because it felt (feels) right to me; inhaling up, exhaling down, allowing myself to move – or, as some call it, to dance – with my breath. When I’m stressed out or overwhelmed, I find that doing something – ANYTHING – in rhythm with my breath is profoundly calming and centering: breathing in four steps and breathing four steps (walking meditation), circling my arms up on an inhale and down on an exhale, looking up while breathing in and looking down while breathing out – all of these things have brought me out of rages or panics or blinding frustration. Try it sometimes – you’ll see what I mean.
Another reason I really like the style is that it allows the student to take some authority over his or her practice. I tell my students that they don’t have to look like I do in a pose and they don’t have to keep up with me; “if I say “inhale” and you’re not done breathing out yet, finish breathing out! Set your own pace. I will always wait until everyone is back to neutral before I move us on to something new.” My wish is for them to go inside themselves, to honor their bodies and their breath, and to accept and settle into themselves because, too often, we relinquish our control to the “authority” of others – teachers, bosses, parents – without recognizing how much power and control we possess in ourselves. Coming back to oneself and taking ownership of that power is an important part of what (my) yoga practice is all about.
We did a bunch of kundalini breathing exercises to start the practice, and I’m starting to warm up to them despite my initial resistance. I’m surprised by how much heat I can generate in my body with some of the breath work, though it does take me a while to get used to allowing my body and movement to move my breath. Once I get into it, though, I find I experience pretty intense releases of emotion. I mentioned yesterday that I’m not really all that into this weekend, and I’m still not quite over that feeling. I was surprised to notice myself welling up during the breathing exercises yesterday morning, and I can’t really tell you exactly why I may not make it through the weekend without a good cry (though I’ll try to save it for when I’m alone in the car on the way home). There’s something stored up and locked away that this work is opening up for me – I may not even realize what it is, but I’m willing to honor the process I’m going through to release it.
So, I’m back at it today, even though I’m still not quite into it and am really hoping that I don’t crash and burn before 11 a.m. Mr. Chili leaves for Maryland this afternoon and I’m really hoping that the class will break for lunch early enough for me to see him again before he goes – I’m going to ask Cicely if we can leave a little earlier than we usually do; I’m pretty sure it won’t be an issue as David told me yesterday that today is going to be spent in discussion and lecture, and that’s easier to keep on a tighter schedule than practice. Xena is going to stay with the girls until I get home around 5:30. I’m looking forward to dinner with her and my daughters – maybe we’ll order a pizza or something. After all this yoga and cleansing breath, I could use a little junk food.