“Just point to point cues, yogis. Nothing else,” our practice teaching coach Bethany Lyons instructed the room full of 120 teachers before our small group practice teaching session. Okay then…right foot to the front of the room, back foot presses into the mat. ‘Nuf said. Easy enough!
Until I tried it. From the very first Sun Salutation I rattled off a series of additional cues – rise on the inhale, pull your right hip back, draw your front ribs in – and so on. My small group called me out on it, and I tried to stop. No dice. More cues, more frustration, and a few tears to round out my downward spiral. I quickly went from inspired teacher sharing her love of the practice to pissed off drill sergeant looking for her whistle. Which leads me to the question, why is keeping it simple so f***ing hard?
I don’t know why. And maybe that’s not what’s important here. What I have learned on day two, from experiencing some of the most challenging practices of my life taught by Baptiste Leader Paige Elenson last night and this morning, is that simple is powerful. Impactful. Humbling.
Embodying the experience of grounding my feet and toes into the earth and engaging every part of my body in Mountain pose no longer became simply standing there with my arms in the air. I was sweating, shaking, and inwardly begging her to let me drop down into Child’s pose.
Which got me to thinking about other areas of my life that I’ve been over-complicating. Coordinating in excruciating detail when, where, and how I’m going to see my extended family on a three-day trip to Seattle was a total bust. My plans to meet my pop at a Mexican restaurant (surely he likes tacos and Coronas??) in the city was a total bust (he wasn’t comfortable finding parking in an unfamiliar area). Finding a time and place to connect with another teacher on the other side of town after her class proved impossible. In the end I simply called both upon arrival and found alternatives on the fly (Dad and I chose to meet at our favorite, familiar coffee shop; Tina and I postponed until my next visit). Simple. Without all the drama of hurt feelings or energy spent making reservations and blocking out time slots on the calendar.
So today, and every day beyond, I’m committed to keeping it simple. And discovering how powerful it can be.