Monday, June 3, 2013

But you aren't who I wish you were, I knew that before I even met you.

It wasn't until we rolled up into the Shala this morning, and Isaac's little flip flop clad feet came slapping up to us through the mud, and Bodhi put his helmet on the bike, and I stood up and walked through the mud up the ramp through the new wall which gets higher every day that I realized, kind of, that today was the day that everything, or maybe just two really significant things, were going to be really different.
Thanks, Prem and Rhada. 
We had missed Prem and Rhada's last class. I had, in my mind, had this day as the day we had to say goodbye for so long, that it already had sorrow attached to it.

But its different than I thought it would be. We are staying. Prem and Rhada are the ones that are leaving. They are off to the states to see friends and family for a month and a half. They have a good friend, Dylan, teaching.

I was so glad that there would be a great teacher here, someone who also studied with Pattabhi Jois. Part of me feels a bit sad not to be leaving for India in a few days, like I copped out of that adventure to some extent. Like Bodhi and I should be meeting Saraswati, and studying with her as planned.

But the deed is done, and there are so many good reasons to stay...

"I miss Prem." Bodhi said, and came to a sudden stop at the office. He looked up at me, and looked around. Something was different. Prem has become a Goo Remover for Bodhi. Prem, like Weems, plays with Bodhi, encourages him to be a kid, allows space for him to be who he is emotionally. They both hold space, let Bodhi be Bodhi, while helping him to find out what that means.

Bodhi suddenly seemed a little lost. "I know babe, I miss Prem, too." It was true. It seemed like a good idea at the time to stay....

But I like meeting new teachers and getting a fresh perspective, and Dylan seems really cool, and Prem and Rhada would only have someone really great teach in their shala... so I'm pretty stoked. Thats life, Prem and Rhada need to go do their thing, and its not good to get attached, and there are lots of teachers, and I'll learn something new.

But I miss them already. I hadn't realized how much I looked forward to seeing them every day. How nice it was to have them in my practice, how far into my practice they had come. I am changing because of the practice, and they are so much a part of that. Each in their own way.

Bodhi sat down on the step and started to play with Isaac. Abby came up and handed Bodhi something.  "Here, Bodhi. This is from Prem and Rhada. We missed you yesterday. They gave us these necklaces yesterday. They are just for us, from Prem and Rhada." Bodhi took the necklace and looked at it. He sat really still and turned it over in his hands. He was a little stunned. I expected him just to put it on and keep playing but he looked at it.

His face crumpled a little. "I miss Prem." he mumbled again, looking down at the necklace in his hands.

"Its okay, babe." I said. He put it on, and I went into the shala to set up.

There were only three people there so far, we were early. But it felt like because Prem and Rhada had gone, everyone had gone. On the other hand, it felt peaceful. I looked forward to some open space, I could be a little further up, closer to the front, no one distracting me, a nice view of the Buddha statue sitting in the pond, the light coming in through the bamboo fence.

Bodhi came in to stand next to me for the invocation. He looked up at me. "I miss them, mom." He whispered.

And then Prem and Rhada walked out of their house, backpacks on, ready to go on their next adventure. Bodhi ran through the shala and met them with Isaac and Abby behind the wall. I didn't get to see them say good bye, but I'm so glad they did. It feels like good bye forever, but the really funny thing is... we are here for so long that we will STILL be here when they get back!

Bodhi came back up front smiling, I saw through my feet as I hung upside down waiting for the prayer Prem and Rhada walk happily up to the car. It was funny not to go say goodbye to them. But I didn't want to interrupt the kids. It felt selfish to go get my own goodbye when the kids wanted to give their love.

Dylan came to the front. "Samasditihi" he said. Same program. This is how we begin. "Ommmmm" he chanted. Prem's deep resonating, confident voice was missing. In its place was a surprising sound. Dylan's Om was different. Wait a minute. Was EVERYTHING going to be different?

It was beautiful. Dylan began the prayer and he has a lovely voice. He sings it, higher in pitch and more sing-song. Bodhi sang along, not phased. I was equal parts entranced and confused.

Funny that, because in all my yoga practice I've never had the same teacher over and over and over again. There are usually three or four people who guide practice, and I just go to the Bikram studio and take from whoever is teaching.

Mysore practice is so different, you are on your own program on your own mat practicing at your own pace with your own breath. To have the same person show up in your bubble of consciousness and correct you and then walk away is soothing to some extent. There is trust there.

Today, I began practice and I felt the deep and profound silence in the room. It occurred to me that the room is always this quiet. That there is only the sound of breath and the plop of feet. It occurred to me that we are all moving very slowly. That this almost looks like TaiChi.

And then it occurred to me that even though I'm practicing meditation, staying on my mat mentally and physically, and working on my breath, hearing an ocean in my head, its usually really really loud in the room to me.

I haven't heard the silence before.

My mind has been too busy. Prem and Rhada make corrections, their movements and voices are part of the rhythm of practice. It was absolutely SILENT in Dylan's Mysore practice. I felt like time slowed down.

"Watch your breathing, your bundahs. Mulah Bundah, Udiana Bunda..."

Suddenly I missed Prem! Where was my teacher? Who was this guy, pretending to be my teacher, walking around in his shala?? What had I been THINKING? Why hadn't I gone to India?? If I was going to take from someone else, surely it should be someone from India!! From the source! I watched my mind go on a little judgement trip.

I found my breath and continued my practice. Give him a chance. Give yourself a chance. Where is all this fear coming from?

Dylan walked past me, helping other people in Down Dog, but not me.  (Was I on my mat and in my practice??) Where were Prems gentle, understanding hands, that ask so much of me? Where was fierce Rhada, asking me for more, but to know when it was enough? Where were my teachers???

I struggled with this all the way through the warm up. I got to the middle of Sun B and the breath and the rhythm took over. It was automatic suddenly, to some extent, but that was also a good thing, the physical practice was pulling me out of my judgemental mind and onto my mat. I found my breath.

I worked with Rhada in my mind. "STAND on your FEET, Kate. Lift your HIPS! Come ON!" I found myself a little.

The room, however, was loud again in my internal struggle. I reached for the breath. I let go of needing to hear Rhada and tried to just feel the posture, incorporate my notes, find the silence. The next flow stretched out long, things were slowing down.

Suddenly, my back was moving, feeling longer. My shoulders were stretching open. Dylan was adjusting me. His touch, like his voice, was light, melodious. I listened. My body moved with the suggestion.

He came back again later. We had a chat about my bind, he coaxed my knee gently down, a posture Ive been struggling to find depth in was suddenly there. He came back later. He sat down and we chatted about Navassana. I have trouble making my abs strong. Mula Bundah not withstanding, I use my psoas in this posture and I can't seem to make my abs strong.

Dylan had me lay on the ground and try a minuscule movement with my back. My weak, unused abs fired all at once. I could make change from here.

At the end of practice, I left the shala feeling whole, feeling light and happy and floaty. I still miss Prem and Rhada. But I'm grateful for the space they made for us to practice in. Im grateful for the foundation they laid for me to learn from another teacher as well. I'm grateful for the sudden shift, for the attachment practice, for the struggle to let go and the struggle to connect and the struggle to be open. We can not practice this enough in life.

And I'm so grateful for the beautiful, gentle teachings of Dylan. I can't wait to go back in the morning and practice again, in a silent room, with a quieter mind, open to a new teacher. Let the next unfolding begin!

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