Yesterday morning I had my first yoga session in India. The guesthouse we are staying at has a resident yoga instructor that offers classes on the rooftop every morning. Unfortunately, the roof top was locked up this morning so we moved our yoga class (I was the only one in class) to an indoor location.
I admit I was a little nervous about the one-on-one session, especially when it moved inside. I had read about creepster yoga instructors in India that made moves on their female students during one-on-one sessions. The instructor, Rajnish, was small though and I knew I could take him if he tried anything funny. Soon after the session began I was able to relax and found myself enjoying the practice.
The class started with some simple breathing exercises but we soon progressed to backbends and some challenging balance poses. Something I’ve never noticed began happening every time I leaned back into a bend—a grunted. The first few times it happens I was so embarrassed. Where the heck did that noise come from? By the third bend I began to think it was a bit humorous and by the sixth I had accepted it as what my body needed to do to. It’s so liberating to except your bodies oddities—twitches, grunts, groans, cycles, etc. We wrapped things up with some medication techniques and more breathing exercises.
The instructor loved learning the “American” terms I used for some of the poses. He would laugh and say, “So clever, so clever you Americans…” The class was a perfect blend of critique and encouragement. I left with relief from tension, new poses and breathing methods, and a healthy dose of humility and confidence.
The session also inspired me to be the kind of teacher (in whatever capacity) that encourages students to explore their outer boundaries (and move beyond them) while at the same time making them feel comfortable and confident.
This morning was my second session and we got to practice on the rooftop which was lovely. I was feeling a bit under the weather—I’m pretty sure the pollution is getting to my—so I asked him if we could do some stuff to loosen my throat and clear me out.
We began the practice and soon he gave me my prescription—go by some rice and hand it out to the beggars. Interesting way to kick a cold.