Substitute teacher this morning, the lovely Allison Linamen , whom I have taken from before and, whoo boy is she lovely. She's a dancer turned yogi (my favorite! They're always just so lean and long and lovely to look at), and she is an alignment nerd (which I am quickly becoming myself), so I was happy to see her.
She had apparently taken a Feldenkrais-y workshop yesterday and was all revved up about the four hours they had spent lying on the floor performing barely visible adjustments. ("Don't worry," she said, "that's not what we're doing!"). Feldenkrais for those of you who don't know is...um...something. That. Dancers doooo. It's like a...um...movement. A, um...mind/body...sensory sort of...pilates-esque...um.
No, seriously, I have no idea.
It has something to do with movement. Efficient movement, maybe? I don't know.
The Feldenkrais Method is for anyone who wants to reconnect with their natural abilities to move, think and feel. Whether you want to be more comfortable sitting at your computer, playing with your children and grandchildren, or performing a favorite pastime, these gentle lessons can improve your overall well being.
Learning to move with less effort makes daily life easier. Because the Feldenkrais Method focuses on the relationship between movement and thought, increased mental awareness and creativity accompany physical improvements. Everyone, from athletes and artists to administrators and attorneys, can benefit from the Feldenkrais Method.
Okay, got it now?
Anyhoo...we were NOT going to lay on the floor for hours, but lovely Allison did inform us that we would be moving slowly and with a lot of attention. I was both excited and frustrated by this prospect. Well, no...I was mostly excited. It would mean geeking out on the subtler alignment and hopefully it would help me to stay centered and "on the dot". Which I needed. Badly.
The last class I went to, on Friday, was a total disaster--and that was no one's fault other than M-I-N-E, mine. Have you EVER heard me call a class "a disaster"?! Well, it was. Or at least...it felt that way on the inside. I haven't been in a class and been that preoccupied in...I don't know how long...but my mind was acting like a crazed hyena, and for the life of me, no matter how many times I told myself to settle or calm down or soften, I could not get it under control. I nearly wrote an email to Gina (friday's teach) after class, apologizing to her for my being in the front row and being just totally and utterly distracted. But I didn't because, really...my problem, not hers. So, I was determined this morning to stay engaged in my body and the work of it, even if it meant bringing myself back a hundred million times over the course of an hour and a half.
It's amazing how difficult it can be to just STAY focused, especially when the mood is a little, ehm...fragile. Over and over throughout class, I would feel myself deeply IN the pose and then suddenly I would catch my mind running off, making sure the fire was still lit under my big pot of worry (thank you, monkey mind, for that) and I would have to yank on it's little chain: Stay Here. That was my mantra: STAY. HERE.
Sta---no! Staaaaaaay heeeeeeere.
And the slow pace of the class ended up being a total blessing--I could watch my feet as they settled, toe by toe, into the mat, and I could send all of my attention to the C-curve of my ribs or the extension of all the musculature from toe tip to fingertip--it gave me time to run away and return, run away and return and then finally just...return. And return. And return.
And as it happens, every time...every time I am with myself and practicing, at some point during the class there is a very quiet ping! of my heart breaking open just a little bit more and I am FILLED with gratitude. Thank you. Thank you for this practice.