I reached the conclusion sometime recently, after teaching something like 35 classes over the course of two weeks, that I really, REALLY needed to make time for and guard my own practice. There's always plenty of reasons not to, plenty of crap that comes up. But run, run, running, makes it very clear. You can't drive your friends to the party if you're on empty.
I decided I needed an unheated, early morning practice -- mornings being the only time in my schedule that aren't consistently occupied by teaching, client calls, meetings, and so on, and so on. Despite the fact that mornings are incredibly difficult on my body, this is the kind of commitment that really is required. So I found Mysore on the Back Bay Yoga Studio schedule...
Mysore Day One: Observation
A lesson, perhaps in patience, and most definitely a demonstration of commitment, you're asked to observe your first class. Admittedly, my first thought was to try to weasel my way out of it, "oh, that doesn't have to apply to me. I'm a teacher." But I forced myself to hold my tongue and sit. Ego is so readily available. Beginner's mind, on the other hand, can feel like a scarce resource. This is a brand new (to me) practice, at a somewhat new to me studio, in a space where I'm not a teacher. This is a space I can learn without feeling like I need to be more knowledgeable, more capable. Brilliant. So I arrived early, sat and watched for roughly two hours, and was told to arrive tomorrow between 6:30am and 7:30am for instruction--assuming I could commit to the practice between three and six times a week. Little did my instructor know, that was exactly what I was looking for...
I probably learned more about myself, sitting there watching, then I did about the practice. However, I did notice the slight differences in the sun salutations from power (my home base) and Mysore. My body ached to participate. Run, run, running takes a toll.
Mysore Day Two: Relearning Suns
Sun salutations are like bread. Every culture has some sort of bread, and every one has a unique way of making and enjoying it, be it Ethiopian injera or Wonder Bread. Similarly, each style of vinyasa, the flowy yoga, has its own style or version of sun salutes. And of course, Mysore sun salutations have their own unique qualities. But where the ups and downs differ, even in the alignment minutia, the focus on breathing is consistent.
While I do sun salutations pretty regularly, the slight differences from what I'm used to required I bring a renewed focus to the practice. I tired myself out pretty quickly trying to keep it all straight, stay present and breathe calmly. But it all builds, in time.