About Me

Yoga changed my Life and it's just too good a thing to keep to myself! I have been practicing yoga since 1995 and am a certified yoga instructor. I teach a combination of classical Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow. My teaching style is safe, compassionate and challenging at the same time. I teach at a number of studios, and also offer private and group lessons!

In addition to my schedule, I post other writings here, about yoga and Life in general. For private or group lessons, contact me at: workofheartyoga@gmail.com .

Thursday, March 6, 2008

April and the magic beads

Last week was a particularly strange one for me. One day was completely wonderful, and the next I felt just awful. It was a roller coaster of nervous energy and self-doubt, and no matter how I tried to breathe through it all, it was hard to hang on for the ride. I realized, however, that the turbulence came from the difference between my expectations and my actual experiences. And here’s what I mean:

I had been looking forward to attending a particular yoga class. I’ve been courting the idea of taking another teacher training, and have been taking classes with teachers I think I would like to learn more from. So not only was I looking forward to taking a class, I was hoping to find some sign that this instructor could really be “my teacher.”

Instead, when I got to class, I found that it was her birthday, and she was splitting the class into three half-hours of different activities that involved body movement.

It was different, it was new, and I was thrown.

I had expected a yoga class. I tried to calm myself thinking, “Come on, April. Calm down, and just be open to something new. Maybe this is what you need – to learn to be flexible and playful and in the moment.” So on the class went.

We twirled toys, danced wildly, and made noises not commonly heard in a yoga class. I found myself jiggling and hopping around, and did feel a little bit like a kid. We ended with a series of salutations in a circle spreading out like a wheel that felt very unifying. But then as we began our Savasana, the instructor mentioned she had brought a prayer bead on a necklace for everyone and that as we were lulled by the musicians singing kirtan, she would go around and hand them out.

I could feel my heart beating faster, and felt my jaw unable to relax. I was suddenly anxious.

The school child in me kept praying, “Pick me! Pick me!” And I became overwhelmingly desirous of the special bead, from this special instructor, who I hoped would be “my teacher.” As I realized how much I wanted the bead, I felt very sad. Savasana seemed to last FOREVER, and I could feel its weight on my chest. I actually began to cry silently, hoping my tears would blend with the beads of sweat running down my face. I was embarrassed by my emotion.

Time ticked itself away in the rhythms of the kirtan, and vibrated through my skull. I lay there, beadless.

I felt motion around me. Then I realized everyone was getting up and the class was over. I looked around, watching people hug and tie their necklaces around themselves. I think I was one of a few people that did not get one, although the instructor still had some in her hand as she said goodbye to those students familiar to her.

I don’t think I didn’t get a bead because she did not know me, or for any particular reason. Who knows, maybe she didn’t want to disturb my meditation.

All I do know is that I did not feel comfortable asking her for a bead. So I went to my car and cried like a baby, feeling absolutely juvenile. It occurred to me, “maybe she is not ‘my teacher.’”

I’m not sure if I was so saddened because I wanted her to be my teacher, or because I did not feel comfortable asking for what I wanted. And what was it that I wanted, specifically? To find my teacher? To be chosen? To feel special?

Well, that day ended. And the next began.

I took a wonderful yoga class from another teacher, whom I adore and feel very much mentored by, and actually had a wonderful conversation with her about my “bead” experience. Talking to her about it made me feel absolutely lighter. I revealed that she might be my teacher, even if she’s not so sure herself…

I then left to teach my class at the YMCA which was packed, and just filled with people that had such great, positive, and electrifying energy. I had so much fun teaching, and felt just full of happiness as I left.

When I made it to dinner with my husband and my Abba (one of my fathers-in-law) I was so excited to tell them about it. But before I could begin, my Abba pulled out a small, plain box, and said he found something at a store that he thought I would like and seemed to suit me. “How sweet! An unexpected little gift,” I blabbed.

I opened the box to find an entire necklace of Mala beads.

I kid you not, the full Hindu rosary of 108 prayer beads was staring up at me from its humble little package. He had no idea just how special this gift was to me…

I guess what I took from this is that although we think we want certain things, the things we need often come at a time or place or from a person we least expect.

So, my question to you, my faithful readers, is this: What lesson do you think the universe was trying to send me? Post your comments if you feel so moved...

Peace, and I wish you all wonderful things in unexpected moments!
-April KirkHart