In my yoga teacher training program this past weekend, our teachers asked us to create hour long classes with a theme. One group called theirs, “Holiday Magic,” I thought that was so fun! I have been on the lookout for signs of holiday magic. They usually appear when I least expect them. I had been hoping all week to see Christmas lights on my predawn runs. Very few folks keep their lights on all night or are up as early as I am to turn them on, so that didn’t work out too well. On the contrary, I decided to squeeze in a 5 mile run on Friday afternoon, knowing I would be physically spent from yoga this weekend and unlikely to run in the mornings. The trails were nearly abandoned at dusk and as I made my way through the neighborhoods on the way home at 5pm, all the Christmas lights were coming on! Another sign of holiday magic that I’m trying to achieve is a clever alternative to a Christmas tree. Our elderly cat, Nala, eats the evergreen needles each year and leaves unwanted presents around the house, in the form of piney puddles of puke. So we’ve been brainstorming holiday décor that won’t make her ill. Perhaps, a garland way up high, a wreath or two out of her reach,…just some lights? Any thoughts or suggestions on how to create some holiday cheer in our house without making our kitty nauseous would be greatly appreciated.
I am still very excited, nervous, and practically giddy when one of teacher training weekends rolls around. I am enjoying going deeper into my practice, learning more about expanding my body’s limits, and working with others to stretch their practice as well. In addition to my love of learning surrounding this topic, I also have to mention that it is extremely hard work. Not only are two days of intense physical activity after a full work-week physically exhausting but the intellectual piece should not be underestimated. We practiced for 2.5 hours on Saturday morning. Your average yoga class is 75 minutes in length, so this was pushing it even for those who were attending classes regularly. Certainly we have breaks during our 8-hour day; we get time to eat, digest, and use the restroom. When we are not practicing the physical part of yoga, the asanas, we are learning the Sanskrit names of poses, how to link them together, the philosophy and anatomy behind the practice.
By the end of the day, we are all a little loopy and most of us are pretty tired. In one of the final poses that was taught on Saturday, one of our instructors prompted a teacher in training, “And…What are the legs doing?” The teacher in training responded with clear and cunning wit, “…shaking.” We all got a good laugh, all of our muscles were twitching up a storm. I learn so much during each session, that by Sunday evening I feel like my brain is overfull and I might even bee leaking yoga knowledge out my ear and onto my pillow when I go to sleep. (That would explain the bizarre Sanskrit dreams!)
I have a built a relationship with yoga over the years. It is one of love and respect. It allows me to engage in this challenge. Many would say to me, if it is so hard you should quit. Why do you put yourself through all of this? That is a good question. In response I might say, “I like to do hard things.” My husband often puzzles over why I want to run 3 miles before dinner after a long day teaching, or why I get up before the sun to run , or why I look forward to getting up early on Saturday to go on a long trail run. I delight in returning home sweaty and tired, desperately in need of a shower and thoroughly having earned my dinner. Many thing worth doing are hard. Stay strong in the struggle and keep fighting for those things that are worth fighting for.