Yoga shala started earlier than usual and Dianne was determined that we stay on schedule. We needed to take a group photo, write a test, practice yoga, do some kirtan chanting and share in a final feast. Seemed like an overwhelming to-do list but it all worked out. I think that time stood still for us that day…or a least we hoped it would. This was our last class together.
For posterity, the former professional photographer amongst us snapped a group photo. One of us was missing last week. This time, a different person was away. Dianne kept joking that she could use Photoshop to make one composite picture with her and all twelve teachers-in-training. The miracles of technology make almost anything possible nowadays. We’ll see what her husband, the web genius, is able to pull off.
Next, we were given an hour and a half to write the final test of yoga school. No big surprises since Dianne had given us all the questions and we’d discussed the answers together. Have to admit that my back was sore after sitting for so long. I tried to make a comfy seat, with my improvised little fort of bolsters, but it’s amazing how I forgot about posture in my efforts to get the answers on the page. Also, my sincerest apologies to my classmates for forgetting to turn off my cell phone during the test! Geez, and to think that there was a time that in my past when I used to be the one that reminded the students to turn off their gadgets…
Each yoga teacher-in-training was required to guide the group in a 30 minute practice. Most of the yoginis had taken their turn over the last few weekends so there were only four of us left to go. It was fantastic to know that everyone was willing to teach, even if we were feeling a little anxious about it all. Stepping up in front of a crowd, especially one composed of your peers, was nerve-wracking. (Did I also mention that Dianne was in the background, taking notes?) I think the difference here, from other life challenges, was that we felt pretty safe in the environment that had developed over our 6 months together. Thank you fellow yoginis! Yoga school allowed for vulnerability and only then could there be growth. I think that’s what gave each of us the confidence to get up there and just do it. If we were able to make mistakes here and survive, then we would make it out there in the real world too.
My chance to teach was at the very end. I’d been talking parts of it out loud to myself, on and off. It was a unique way to pass the time when I had to do a roundtrip drive for a midweek meeting in Toronto. For me, I’ve learned that I need to stumble along with the words a few times before it becomes presentable. Even with these solo rehearsals, I knew that it would feel different when I arrived at the “moment of truth”. That’s when it was time to do my own yoga. Observe and go with the flow. Some of the words I’d practiced to myself did seem to reappear magically. And I tried to feel the energy of the room and let it lead me in the rhythm of the practice. I still made mistakes (mixed up my lefts and rights and forgot a few poses) but I survived and I’ll live to teach another class.
Kirtan, or call and response chanting, was a fun way to round out the day. Nancy was invited to lead us. She sang and accompanied herself on harmonium while we followed along. Someone suggested that a kirtan group might be developed at the studio. Stay tuned…there’s always something new happening!
We had a mini-graduation and Dianne gave out a certificate to one of the yoginis that had completed all the requirements of the program. The first yoga school graduate! We went on to celebrate with a potluck dinner of spinach pies, fatoush, hummus, pita bread, sushi, fruit salad, kasha, paczki and cheesecake.
I wish that shala wasn’t over. But that would be raga, which is clinging to or longing for something. I know that all good things come to an end. And actually, in some ways, I’m ready to move ahead. I’ve got to finish my karma yoga volunteer teaching. Just renewed my monthly membership at the studio. Then there’s this really great Anusara workshop with John Friend coming up in March. See, it’s not really over. There’s so much yoga that I still have to explore. Onwards!