11.17.2013

Lessons in flexibility. Inflexibility.

I took a yoga class yesterday. One that I knew would likely be a little outside of my comfort zone - mostly because my comfort zone is currently in a dark theater where, at 10-minute intervals, strangers sing loudly, in foreign languages, in my general direction.

So. Yoga. Stretching and chatarangas and using muscles that I haven't used in months. It was not, as you could guess, a walk in the park. 

But the thing that stopped me in my tracks, both during the class and upon reflection? The teacher.

Full disclosure: I thought I was running late. I followed her into the gym, not knowing she was the teacher... In fact, not even convinced I would take a class: thinking that a few miles on the dreadmill would be sufficient. I was wholly irritated that she couldn't sense me behind her at the entrance, didn't even pretend to hold the door. 

But I walked into the class, found a mat at the back of the room, and started to take stock of what hurt and what really hurt. And in walked the teacher. She surveyed the room, realized that she hadn't seen me before, and came over to talk to me. She crouched down; met me at eye level, and introduced herself. Asked some basic questions about my practice and injuries. Encouraged me to modify as I saw fit. Asked my name, and repeated it to herself, as if she was trying to remember it.

The conversation was short, but it felt like it took a long, long time. Open, gentle eye contact. Space in which I could answer.

There was no rush.

And I realized how stinking fast my internal clock runs, how little patience I have for slow thinkers and talkers, even knowing that I'm one of them on my most thoughtful, least knee-jerk days.

How often does the detritus of my day and messed -up head blind me to people seeking a small moment of real connection? How often do I direct my gaze downward so as to not engage?

(Far too often, I'd guess.)

Goal for the time being: more eye contact, more listening. Less jabbering. 

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