June 13, 2011 § 2 Comments
Four classes in at the new yoga studio and I’m enjoying the ride. The proximity to home is one major factor why I intend to purchase a monthly membership after my ‘new student’ deal is over. Another is the quality of the adjustments – they feel almost ‘strategic’ in a sense. So far, I’ve been adjusted by Ms A and two of her assistants (which change daily).
Yesterday, in Parivrtta Trikonasana on the right side, the assistant stood behind me and gently pulled the left hip towards him while holding onto the raised arm. It made me wobble a bit and I had to shift the right hand from the foot (where it usually is) to the floor. As I waited for the wobbles to subside I suddenly felt an opening in the hips and lower back that had never happened in that pose before – what used to be a shaky, quick breath affair is slowly turning into a pose that I can start to really explore on my own.
After the past six months with K, who has a stronger touch than all the teachers I’ve practiced with so far, it’s really nice to be adjusted gently and not forcefully each and every time. I believe that there is a time and place for soft and hard adjustments. A good teacher is one who knows when to push and when to remind, a skill borne out of experience and the teacher-student relationship. My first teacher, A, used to give me really killer adjustments in Prasarita Padottanasana C (when are those ever easy????), but then throw in a 2-second massage in Paschimottanasana to ‘balance things out’. K’s consistently forceful adjustments leave me trembling with anxiety each time she approached my mat…I guess that’s a pretty effective way of forcing myself to really focus on the breath!
Of course, these comparisons are just products of my initial impressions. It’s still early days at Ms A’s studio and we’re still getting to know each other. There’s a big(ger), more established yogi community at the new studio, which brings out the introvert in me. I must seem rather aloof before and after practice when I issue nothing more than a cursory smile while fellow Ashtangis catch up with each other, radiant in their post-practice glow. Contrary to my socially curious nature, I don’t feel as if I’m missing anything by not participating in conversations. I’m there to practice, any friendships that arise are just incidental.