Bali in 02

Style: Personal Sequence
Teacher: Self
Studio: None

I taught my first yoga class. I'll admit, it wasn't exactly the endless mat-to-mat army of yogis that Baron taught back in Austin. The atmosphere was quaint and intimate, safe and supportive, consisting of Shawna and my two sisters, Annie and Maria. Despite the mood being comfortable and free of expectation I still somehow managed to cultivate a stage fright that had me closing in on nervous wreck. I argued with myself, fought with the logistics of the sequence, fretted over my ability to emote and project my voice, to clearly articulate and enunciate. As my two lovely sisters arrived I was still second guessing myself, altering and modifying the sequence, scratching out this pose, replacing it with that one. Do back bends follow forward bends? Don't they? What's that rule of thumb again? A twist might work here... Do I have too many standing postures? Enough balancing positions? Hip-openers? Does this make sense here? Does that serve a purpose? Have I covered all bases? As the three mats were rolled out in front of me and a silence descended on the room, eventually I had to surrender and bite the bullet, to swallow my nit-picking perfectionism and replace it with pseudo confidence and self-assurance.

Surviving a resounding Om with minimal residual awkward energy, the process is suddenly in motion. My class is off to a start and instantly I'm drawing a blank. What's a sun salutation again? Is that an inhale or an exhale? Soon I'm stumbling over my own words, stuttering and sputtering, trying to explain simple procedures in a way the three people in front of me can understand. This is definitely more complex then I'd anticipated. How do these yoga teachers make it look so easy, so effortless?

As I guide the three students further into the series of sun salutations I begin to subdue the nervous waver in my voice and pretty soon I've done what I can to stabilize my senses. I swallow my emotions without choking on them and struggle to bring my focus back to my sequence as I glance down at my notes. I'm guiding the yogis through the motions, watching them listen to my instructions and display my words. It's both thrilling and terrifying. As the choreography progresses, I find myself fascinated by the mental spasms and glitches I'm experiencing. My internal dialogue wonders if the students are enjoying themselves, if they're noticing my mistakes or if they're patiently waiting for everything to end. The serene, blank gazes on their faces are unreadable. Are they in a state of deep meditation or sublime boredom? Playing with the choreographed asanas, we move through warrior sequences, triangles, side-angles with binds, reverse triangles and prayer folds. I'm narrating dragons and locusts, pigeons and downward dogs, camels and eagles - almost the entire animal kingdom is present and accounted for.

Eventually I'm forming like Megazord, drawing inspiration from the colorful cast of characters I've been studying with for the past 6 months. I'm amputating Todd's calm demeanour, Ichih's motivational spirit, Mark's smooth delivery, Louise's wit and humour, Mike's ability to stay grounded and chilled-out. I'm melting down Baron Baptiste and Brian Kest, liquefying then fusing them together. I'm trying to organize an assortment of breath ques, posture descriptions, different variations and modifications. I'm a mad scientist attaching limbs and appendages, ligaments and tendons, creating a Frankenstein of blended yoga inspiration and influence. Soon my creation is breathing on its own and standing up, lumbering clumsily across the room with outstretched arms and a dead, blank expression on its face. It's alive.

Before I know it I'm looking at three corpses on the floor in front of me and the dizzying whirlwind has come to final relaxation at last. Gently beckoning my three friends out of savasana and into a comfortable seated position, I welcome them back to the world of the living. I shower them with sincere gratitude for accompanying me on this expedition, my first time behind the wheel as I drove recklessly and precariously, ignoring all roadsigns and stoplights. I want this. I really do. I'm going to submerge myself completely, to dedicate myself with everything I have, the entirety of my being. I'm devoted to doing this properly. I want to become a quality teacher. I don't know how I'm going to pull it off, but I plan on absorbing as much as I can in the jungles of Bali. In the distant future I want my classes to contain something special. I want to create a transcendent experience. I want to share my soul, to give back to the world even a small portion of the magic that's been growing within me since my adventure began. I want to leave a lasting impression. The question remains: How? At this point, only time will tell.


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