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Inhale deeply and while you exhale slowly, try to touch your feet.
Yoga classes are something I love, when they are done right. Well, right by my own standards, of course – I prefer teachers that don’t talk too much, that don’t try too hard to be spiritual (sometimes that comes out a bit fake, forced almost), and I like it when they have a touch of humor for any situation. I remember the first time with a new teacher, when she said “Well, okay, this pose is a bit funny” in response to my badly suppressed laughter – how good it felt when she said it’s okay to laugh as much as I want to!
I like it when things are natural and easy, but sometimes I get hard lessons as well. When I heard the sentence I started with – that I should try to touch my feet – of course I wanted to. I wanted to be flexible and strong and I didn’t want to feel left behind, all the other people in the group could make it down there. So I did touch my feet, but it was forced – and what I did, without realizing, was exactly the same thing that I disliked in teachers who reach a bit too much and try to be spiritual leaders of some kind.
The teacher didn’t say anything to me then, but after class she came to me and touched my shoulder gently. “It is your ego that is wanting you to be better – she said – but you really need to focus on actually being better, and then try to achieve it, not because you want to look better but because you want to be”. She gave me a big smile. “It is easy for you to laugh at a funny pose, but ten minutes later you act like yoga class is a serious business where you need to be successful?! Hey, it’s not a task or a homework – it’s yoga, why so serious!”.
I inhaled, I exhaled slowly and without forcing it, I laughed with her.