Day Om…Land of Medicine Buddha

Do you remember that Superbowl commercial from 1984?  The one with the sledgehammer?  I feel a bit like that.

It turns out that somewhere along our yoga journey we became stuck on alignment.  How it happened doesn’t really matter.

For the past twenty years I’ve been turning my right foot out ninety degrees and turning my left foot in thirty for every triangle.  And so has each one of my students.   I believed the same alignment worked for everyone.  And I appreciated having rules to follow.  It felt good to know that if my feet were in set in one direction and my hands in another I was ‘doing it right’.  It didn’t hurt my average proportioned body – why would it hurt anyone else?

Besides, it’s nice putting poses into compartments: this is what Triangle looks like.  This is Half Moon.  Warrior goes like this.  And if our poses weren’t identical it wasn’t because we were breaking the Laws of Alignment – it was because we had a tight hip or a tense hamstring.  As soon as those muscles loosened up we’d be just fine.  Because we’re all the same.  Just like in that Superbowl commercial.

Well guess what?  Paul and Suzee Grilley have taken a sledgehammer to everything I thought I knew about yoga.

Here’s the thing:  It turns out we’re not all the same.

Sure, differences on the outside are easy to note:  hair color, eye color, body weight – they’re different on everyone.  But we forgot to consider the inside.  The closest most of us come to looking at bones are the plastic skeletons in high school biology class.  But those familiar plastic femurs drop off an assembly line, one after another. We don’t.  As the saying goes, “When God made you he broke the mold.” We’re one of kind.  Literally.

If you don’t believe me, look at this: bone photos

These past two weeks – which are coming to an end far too soon – have made me reconsider everything I thought I knew about yoga, about movement, about teaching.

I have loved my time here but I’m looking forward to coming home and being with all my students.  I’m looking forward to our transition – a slow unwinding – a letting go of the rules.  You won’t believe how liberating it feels.

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