Saturday, June 13, 2009


Friday 10:30 am with Jessica

Jessica is a teacher who left for a job as a social worker just as I started.  She just recently has come back to teaching Bikram, and its very nice for us that she has.  I really enjoyed her class.  She kept up a good pace, was good at motivating people, and she gave good individual corrections.  At least they sounded good to me.  She didn't correct me personally.

She did one thing that I had not seen before.  When Amy runs behind, she tends to drop one set of the final stretch at the end.  Some other teachers, when falling behind, will either cut Savasana short, or maybe rush the set-ups of the last poses.  Jessica didn't cut anything short.  Instead, she had us skip last few short savasanas entirely, the ones after Rabbit.  

This spared a couple of minutes, and didn't interrupt the flow as much as I would have thought.  The poses then are just not that demanding, and anyone who wants to take the extra time in Savasana can do it just after class.  At the same time, people in a rush can get out just a little earlier.

Class itself was really nice.  One of the nice things about having a new teacher is that it makes it much easier to simply listen to the dialogue again, as though it were fresh.  From a new teacher, the dialogue is fresh, and it makes it much easier to adopt the beginner's attitude.  My balance was very good, kicking out for two full parts of Standing Head to Knee, staying focused for good stretches of Standing Bow.  In back strengthening, I struck a nice balance between giving full effort and staying with my breath.   Overall, it was a very satisfying class.

The day 162 meditation returns to the subject of fear.  Gates says that he's constantly asking himself what he is afraid of.  With some students its easy to see what they fear -- falling, looking stupid.  For me, the most obvious fear is the dread of spitting up in Locust of Full Locust.  I'm gradually getting over this.

There's a deeper level.  Gates talks about a class he was taking where he was reluctant to try something a new way.  The question then arises:  what was he afraid of?  He doesn't answer the question, but I think part of the point is that posing the question helps to overcome obstacles and blocks.

I had a similar experience that stuck with me several years ago.  I had started taking guitar lessons from a new teacher in Minnesota.  He wanted me to use fingerpicks and a thumb pick.  I had been playing only with my nails for several years, and a former teacher I had really disliked fingerpicks.  At first I balked, and my new teacher said:  "If you are afraid of learning something new, then maybe you don't need a teacher."  That was a great lesson for me, probably worth as much as all the lessons he gave me (and he taught me a ton).  It's one I've tried to take into everything else I've tried to learn since.

The lesson Gates is trying to teach goes even further.  It sounds like its something to consider whenever you get stuck, in any small way.

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