19 Jan Yoga, Core Essence, & Wisdom in Being Stung
This was NOT a spiritual class, I remember thinking to myself as my body was contorting in ways I’ve never experienced in yoga before. Ali, my teacher, was good. She was a talker. She laughed, mostly at herself for her goofy explanations, at times. But her knowledge of deep core yoga, and relating body movements with strength & heart, was apparent in each moment. I felt she was real. Someone I’d like to know. I remember her tidbit about the different levels of yogis, the advanced in her mind, being those that weren’t perfect, but were able to completely let go of ego, and enter a place where yoga was THEIR practice. They know their limits in each moment, and when they are able to to come into a beautiful pose, they turn inward and recognize their own progress in their practice, rather than seeking external praise or glances. I remember many of these tidbits. But the truth was, I still wasn’t quite connected spiritually.
So you won’t mind if I back pedal a minute? Core Essence is on a fairly busy metered street. There’s a parking lot directly across from the studio, which is where I parked. Before crossing, I saw a woman in her car. She looked at me, and I her, and I misread her. I crossed in front of her car’s path believing that she had given me the go ahead. Pressing rewind may have helped me in the situation I was about to find myself in, but no one has invented the real life rewind button yet. So I had to accept the anger aimed at me as my fate. She verbally and emotionally roared vomit in my direction. I never let my smile off my face – not a condescending smile, but a friendly one, as I let enter my body this horrible sting.
Forward again. An hour into class, as poses ended, I was lying calmly on my back, staring up at four huge beautiful sky lights, I still felt little spiritual connection to my practice. It was strange, I remember feeling. But then, Ali began to tell a story. It went something like this:
There was a kind man sitting by a river. He looked over and saw a poisonous spider struggling in the water, looking as though it would drown. He knelt down to the spider, and cupping his hands, he lifted it out of the water to safety. While doing so, the spider bit him. Somehow the universe connected to this spiritual man, did not allow the poison to reach his blood stream, and the man was ok.
The next day, this kind man went back to sit at the river. Again, he saw the same poisonous spider drowning, and again, he cupped his hands around this spider, and while safely returning it to land, the spider bit him again.
The next day, again coming to the river, the man saw this same spider, and cupped his hands to save it once again, but this time the spider spoke. He asked, “Why do you save me over and over again, when you know that I will bite you? After all, that is what I do.” Without thinking, the man replied simply, because that is what I do.
I heard Ali speak these words, and I began to cry. I thought about them again – because that is what I do – and I realized why I had encountered the very angry woman before class. She was my teacher, this woman who stung me. My lesson was that of the kind man and spider. Simply, I choose kindness and an open heart, even though there will be plenty of “bites” and “stings” along the way.
It was a true blessing, this yoga class.
Thanks for reading.