The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friday, December 21, 2007

In The Zone Of Love

Last Friday, I got myself a litte loving from a stranger at a place into which I once swore I would never set foot.

Earlier that day, a rare but necessary display of firmness from my side knocked me a little off kilter. Emotions churned within me and nervous energy began rising. The Healer texted to say she was attending two classes that evening at a yoga club I disliked for its blatant commercialism. Come along, she invited. She had free passes and promised that 'Gary's style is exactly what you like and you will love him!' I was desperate to channel this exessive energy elsewhere, so I agreed to attend the hatha class. By evening, I was walking a tightrope and decided to show up for the vinyasa class as well.

The class was small and I settled in a corner where I could get wrapped up in my own practice. Gary walked in, smiled one of the sweetest smiles I've ever seen and said, "Although you are in a class, this is your own practice too. Listen to your body and remember that you can always come out of a pose anytime your body wants. Now close your eyes, imagine that you're all alone and prepare for an hour of focusing on yourself."

I'm sure I had the lovestruck expression of a groupie on my face, as I turned to The Healer, who shot me a triumphant I-told-you-so look.

The vinyasa class was challenging, mainly due to a long work week but also because my inner self was not in the mood for a continuous movement. Yet the nervous energy had dissipated by the end of the class. Physically, I was tired. Emotionally, I was quiet. But what really helped me get through the class was Gary. He held all of us like individual kites. Each of our strings in his hand, which he unravelled generously but gently tugged on occasionally as a reminder to not fly beyond our personal limitations. We dipped and rose in accordance to our inner rhythm, with Gary's soft reassuring voice telling us to leave the ego outside and focus on embracing our bodies the way they were that very moment.

The hatha class was next and my inner self sank into it like tired head on a soft pillow. The haze lifted from my mind and I completely focused on my body. Move slowly, Gary called out, no swinging up and down. And so I learnt how to move with both strength and grace. Each pose came with variations from which we could choose. Everyone in the class seemed to be truly absorbed in their own practice, allowing their bodies to be imperfect and closing their eyes as they breathed and held each pose. At the end of the class, The Healer and I both agreed that the loving energy emitting from Gary had made all the difference in the world.

I returned to Gary's class the following week. This time it was Yin Yoga. The Healer decided it wasn't her cup of tea - too slow and too much holding. But I loved it! It allowed me to get deeper within myself and the pose, and once again, Gary's compassion added to the pleasure.

The only thing that could have made this class even better was if Gary had made more hands-on adjustments instead of verbal ones. No doubt, his instructions were remarkably clear but those sitting towards the back had a little trouble viewing the postures he was demonstrating. So although most got it somewhat right, the exact alignment was a little off. Also, everyone moves into a posture in a way that makes them feel comfortable, which means that a shoulder could be unconsciously higher or a knee being unintentionally strained. To his credit, Gary did make a few adjustments but not enough.

Yet, his approach and energy is as delicious as a warm slice of chocolate cake. In other words, I'm seriously considering buying a package in this once-detested yoga club.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good on you, Starlight. Your quest for self-discovery is amazing, your beautiful journey a lesson for us all.And please don't carry any guilt about your Monday evening Hatha Yoga class - people come to our lives for a reason,a season and sometimes if we are lucky for a lifetime...Merry X'mas.

5:27 PM  
Blogger starlight said...

thank you, anon. whoever you are, your words are very comforting. :) merry christmas to you too!

4:33 AM  

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