You have to say something.
This was the conclusion we had reached. A fellow teacher and I had gone to dinner to debrief about a workshop we had just attended. In between mouthfuls of watermelon salad (delicious!), we discussed how, essentially, to say things that are true.
When you’re teaching a yoga class, there are a lot of elements involved. You’re trying to create an environment where students can feel peaceful and relaxed. You are guiding them through postures, and sometimes you are setting up those postures so they move in a continuous flow. You are trying to keep them physically safe, while offering an opportunity to explore meditation. You are managing lights, and music, and maybe heat as well. You’re teaching to a range of levels, you’re taking extra care to give your beginners some love, and you’re trying to walk around the room without crushing somebody’s glasses beneath your feet.
Then you’re trying to say things that are true. The workshop we went to was on anatomy of the lower legs and spine. It was Q&A style with an incredible knowledgeable teacher in the city. I learned a ton about the way the body works. I also learned that a number of factoids I had learned about, well, the spine and lower legs, and especially about how those body parts functioned inside of yoga postures, weren’t true. Or they were true- sort of- depending on how you looked at it. Or they were true as a helpful metaphor for the way the body works, and isn’t poetry its own sort of honesty- or something.
I was close to total head-spin. “If I can’t accurately describe a Warrior 2 without a vast knowledge of the way the cranial nerves work, what do I have to offer students?” My friend is also a physical therapist, so she’d already had her head spun over these kind of questions in school. She looked at me levelly. “You do your best, and you just pick somewhere to start. You have to say something.”
There you have it. Our words do not always accurately convey the complexity of life, even the life inside our own bodies. Language is a beautiful tool, but it is also only a tool. The words are never the thing itself which they describe.
I’ve been working on (putting off) writing the text for an updated Edge of the Mat (yes, this site!) for……oh, going on 6 months now. It’s not for lack of inspiration. Rather, I think it’s the same way I felt after this anatomy workshop. There’s so much to say, I don’t know how I’ll ever capture it all.
I’ve realized that I probably can’t. For that matter, maybe I ought not, because “it all” is an awfully tall order for the home page of a website. But this morning, I finally connected with the passion that made me start writing here in the first place. I know now, that’s my beginning. That’s my somewhere to start, that’s my something to say.
In love and light, Kristen