Friday, June 9, 2017

Untelling a story: Reflection for week 3

As far as I deviate from familiar landscapes and their respective maps when guiding another's body in and out of form and space, I'm finding their ideas and relationships to certain shapes are tied inextricably close together. It's not that I'm surprised by these tangled balls of yarn, but that I feel very much like I'm furtively tugging at strings in the practice/person unfolding on the mat in front of me. I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for.

My use of inhales to notice/exhales to move has shifted towards exhales to respond, since even the lack is a response in its own way. As the student listens inward, I've talked about the possibility of trying something else if it didn't feel quite right the first time they responded. I think starting class with a conscious internal conversation, a simple game of choose-your-own-adventure might help students start to develop a vocabulary of their own deeply individual sensations that no words may exist for - something that may be really important (I suspect) for students to eventually perceive the amount of agency available to them inside of more traditional asana.

At various moments during my student's practice, when they chose the path of familiar shapes, I asked what story they were telling at that particular moment. And I asked again in other places, along the way - much the same way yoga teachers often have to remind some of their students to breathe, both are such important things to notice, to fill our bodies with, no matter what the shape we've poured it into. That was remarked on, how interesting it was to have their awareness called to their idea of something rather than a body part, how all of it gets lost just like the breath sometimes when focusing on what their body looks like from the outside. How strange it was to notice in themselves how present the stories were, guiding the choices they made inside of their practice. Sometimes they realized they had no idea where the story they were inside of, in the moment I asked them to notice, even came from in the first place.


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