Sunday, February 10, 2008

Touched by Richard Freeman

Yes, yes, yes. Twice, actually, and once by his assistant. John and I made it to the Yoga Workshop this morning for his Level 1 Foundation/Formation class. We were, perhaps, a little geeky and got there way too early. Brown nosers.

Before the class started we sat next to one another, adjusting our spaces for all the people that came on time and giggling about spotting Richard around town. John: I saw him in the grocery store once-it was like seeing Frank Sinatra. Well, John might not have been giggling, but I was. I was feeling really nervous about the class, about having this incredible yoga man see me gangle around on the floor, all arms and legs and awkwardness. And when I say incredible yoga man I might be referring to Richard Freeman, or to John. Both make me nervous.

As a teacher, he was light, informative, attentive. He led us through sun salutation, pose by pose. I accidently just typed 'boys' instead of 'pose'. What? Hello, brain. A fine example of where my mind is at these days. During down dog I found my focus drifting to the smell in my armpits, the non-stickiness of my mat (i was actually considering consumerism--where can i find a great yoga mat?) and, worst of all, was Yoga John noticing my bad form? Did Richard Freeman notice that my yoga pants were too big, did he see my underwear? Wait, did I wear underwear today? I can't remember, shit! Shit! Shit! And then, inhale, exhale, head up, re-focus.

Something I've been working on in classes lately is foundation. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Part of what leads me astray, down that annoying neurotic path, is how different the poses feel each time I do them. Sometimes half-moon is the best thing that's ever happened to my spine, and sometimes it makes me want to die. And then I start taking it personally, like there is something about me that is just inconsistent, and will always be inconsistent. In John's class the other night a little phrase popped into my head, like a song: you do lose what you don't hold. Only I was directing that sentiment at myself, judging where I was on my mat, in the mirror, in my pose. Each yoga class is different, and the instructors all have different perspectives on the poses. I'm trying so hard to find the place where I know how to feel it. Of course all this is in direct contradiction with what I wrote in my post Trigger Happy Yoga, about just letting go. And in one of my first posts I said "don't be afraid, it's only yoga". So obviously I'm not really in charge of anything that happens.

The class was two hours of modified primary poses. Bridge was great. I wiggled around in it before finding my sweet spot, and it was pretty sweet. Triangle was interesting; I still struggled, but Richard described the rotations in a way that probably will make sense to me with practice. Listening to him talk about yoga was incredible--his voice was soft and light, and a lot of things made sense almost immediatly. Loweball, remember when we were talking about Downward Facing Dog, and complaining that we can never be real yoginis because we still feel weird in the primary series poses, like Down/Up dog and triangle, etc? Well, Richard talked about Down dog and set it up in such a way that I began to feel everything he said I would feel. I think he said something about feeling as though everything but your bones are moving forward, and your bones go back. Envisioning it this way actually gave me that fiery sense in the backs of my legs, a melting, resting feeling. Glorious. Then I remembered about the whole underwear thing, and lost my focus.

So, anyway. During Richard's class this morning, I considered all of this, in between sneaking glances around the room and worrying about my pants. I considered my body, my core, my balance. The places I felt strong, and the places I felt like a soggy pile. My little song came back. Making little interior swirls in my brain, marking the places where questions are asked, where things are felt, before moving on.

I'm sad John is leaving town. It was so great to go to a class with someone who, I think, likes to talk about yoga as much as we do. He suggested we try and go to Jeannie Manchester's class this week. I think she's an Om Time person, or at least her name sounds sort of familiar. He said she does workshops at different studios. The whirlwind yoga team tour of Boulder begins!

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