Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Two, together, not One, alone

Last night I attended a yoga practice with a teacher whom I had worked with only a couple of times before. She calls a challenging series of poses, and does so sprite-like, tending toward bubbly-ness and high animation in her voice. Sometimes, with other teachers, those kinds of things can grate on me, but they don't from her.

Anyway, reflecting on last night, it's clear to me that she designed her pose sequences with a lot of attention and understanding. The apex pose last night was not some exotic or inordinately elaborate bound arm stand, but nataranjasana -- Dancer's Pose. But with the sequence of poses preceding it, I moved more deeply into natarajasana than I've ever moved before. And, so doing, I felt/saw aspects of the pose that I've never seen before, even though I've practiced the pose many, many times in the past eight years.

So after practice, I waited for a few moments to catch a word with the teacher before leaving. When my chance came, I thanked her for the practice and told her of my unexpected experience with the pose. She replied with a pretty standard line from yoga teachers -- and one that I use often enough myself -- "it was inside you; it was your effort." But as she said it, I realized the way that line is false, and I replied, without thinking, really: "No -- it is the teacher and the student together, never just one, alone."

Though I've practiced natarajasana for years, it was only last night, under the instruction and guidance of a skilled teacher, that I experienced Yoga in the pose. Two of us, together, not just one, alone.