A Fertile Ground

Addendum 1/15/2020: In light of recent information about J. Brown, I have made a statement, but I have chosen to leave this post relatively intact. It does not reflect my current view of him as a teacher.

Y’all.  I’m confused.

I’m in this really awesome 300 hour power yoga teacher training.  It’s hard.  We sweat.  There is pounding, vibrant music.  There are tears.  There is community.  I also just finished this incredible two day workshop with J. Brown called “Gentle is the New Advanced.”  (Pre-sale going on now!) It was quiet, tender, and nurturing.  There were mantras, thought-provoking discussion, and lots of space.  I love all of these things.

Yet, as a teacher and a practitioner, I’m horribly confused.  How can I love this one thing AND also love this completely opposite thing?  There’s also all of these “yoga camps.”  Gentle yoga people think power yoga people are a bunch of wild, bouncing, type-A, fitness children.  Power yogis think gentle yoga fans are boring, slow, and snobby militants.  They are both wrong, and sometimes they are both right.

Everyday, I walk in front of my students and I think, “What the hell am I doing? and What the hell am I going to do about it?”  I feel unsettled and unsure.  I want to figure out that dang side plank with tree pose legs while listening to the Rolling Stones.  I want to chant the Gayatri Mantra and sit in silence.  I want to take such good care of my body, but damn I really want to practice handstand kick ups.  I want to teach all of these things.  I want to have fun, be joyful, move, and then get real damn still and quiet.  I want all of these things.  I think yoga IS all of these things.

Despite all my uncertainty, I know that this isn’t something to be figured out.  My very afraid mind wants the easy solution: pick a side, any side.  On my mat this morning, I threw out the rules.  Who says I have to begin with Sun Salutations?  Who said I can’t chant, “Om Shanti,” practice pranayama, and then crank up Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” and just move this body?

A lot of people do, but I guess I’m just not a lot of people.

In this moment, I give myself permission to be crazy, disjointed, unsure, curious, and open.  This grey area feels frightening, but when I get quiet (after I get really loud, of course) it feels like fertile ground.  It’s like the rug gets pulled out from under us just so we can find our feet again.  And maybe my feet aren’t 100% in any one school of thought.  I definitely don’t have the answers, but when I’m in the moment, a few of them find me.  It’s the best we can hope for:  to get quiet or present enough to catch a glimpse of what we truly are.  We just keep collecting those new glimpses and letting old ones go.  I can’t tell you what my practice or my teaching stands for or what it is going to look like because it’s constantly changing.  Right now, it’s just a curious thing.

Fertile ground.

Grown from all that I am.

3 thoughts on “A Fertile Ground

  1. As an all-or-nothing thinker, my therapist and I spend a lot of time talking about the “middle path” – what is the middle path for you? We also talk about using “And” instead of “but” or “or” – for example it’s okay that I like sleeping in AND I like getting up early to work out; I like Zumba AND I like Yoga; I like celery AND I like cookies…we can like opposite things – what we like just depends on how we feel at the time, and that is OKAY.

    So it’s perfectly all right that you like both of these types of practice – there is room in your life for both of them and I think it will make you a very well-rounded teacher. 🙂

  2. I think the loud or the quiet can definitely be mixed! There is power to both and can offer us so many new insights to ourself. Happiness. Breath. Sighing. Dancing. Listening. Not thinking. Chanting. Yes yes yes to all those things on our mat and more.

    Lovely post – it literally made me smile, especially the Janelle Monae mention!

  3. Balance is key. Sometimes you’re the teakettle and need to whistle; other times you’re the tea leaves and need to soak. Still other times, you’re the water that needs the tea and the kettle to nudge it in the right direction.

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