Testing out the waters of a new class, with mostly Chinese speaking students. It is a totally new animal. Cell phones ring, and are answered, during class. There is coughing, hacking, a little spitting. I speak English, but very little is understood, and thus I demo frequently. In fact, demoing isn't the right description: I practice. The entire class, while speaking. Sweat drips down my back and my breath shreds through my chest. Its like Zen Muffin observed earlier--it's important to do the whole posture when demoing, and the same concept applies here. If I skip the chatarunga, or push half way into wheel and then come back down, my students do, too. But the yoga gets across. They hear 'blah blah blah', but their triangles look great. Holding one hand up like 'stop', or 'stay' holds the pose for me while I make adjustments. A friend taught me the words in Mandarin for breath in (eee-chee) and breath out (hoo-chee). What's amazing is that while saying the words, the breath happens naturally. And for the record, I'm certain I've spelled both of those words incorrectly. I went for phonetic rather than correct.
As for me, lots of eee-chee and hoo-chee. In an effort to make better and cheaper eating choices, we sent our ayi to the market for heaps of vegetables, but they're still in the fridge. I did manage to locate 'the' woman on Wulumuqi Lu who sells things like avocados and blueberries incredibly cheap. All the laowai talk about her; it's as if she discovered what foreigners like, and dedicated her store to providing those things. In the back, she's got a fridge full of creme fraiche and cheese. Eating an avocado last night with a little salt sprinkled on top was such a comforting experience that when it was finished I felt so satisfied the need to hunt for sweets in the cupboard had dissolved.
This is what I'm looking for in my yoga. That defining, satisfying practice that erases the doubt or tension that swirls itself around my bones and embeds in my muscles. And it's so easy to get: just listen. Figure out what you need, and then get it. What amazes me is how often I ignore myself. At the end of my classes, I ask my people to take a breath of gratitude toward themselves and their bodies, for what they are able to do, and having the willingness to do those things. It strikes me occasionally how huge that is, the willingness to do. You have to grow it. It doesn't come from nowhere. Practice. I think about how Kira asks us to listen at the end of class, and I ask the same of my people. Why I get up to make a piece of toast instead is beyond me.
Long ago in training at CPY, we wrote down a phrase or a mantra on a piece of paper and clipped it to the top of our mat. I don't even remember what I wrote now, but I'm sure it was deep and meaningful. Today I'm going to write "figure out what you need, and then get it." Or maybe, "just listen".