Monday, December 13, 2010
Teaching Kundalini Under the Weather
(The orb tree in winter; remember when it looked like this?)
Last week, I learned a really valuable lesson about teaching movement: that I can do it even when I don't feel well.
Here's the thing: the classes I teach are not typical yoga classes in which the teacher is spending most of their time walking around adjusting and guiding (no judgement here; they are just different). YogaDance is a full participation class, as you can imagine, because part of the point is to create an experience of community.
My other class, Kundalini Yoga & Movement, is also full participation but for a different reason: Kundalini teachers always do the entire set with their students, because part of the point in this modality is creating a shared energetic experience. To walk around and make adjustments would interrupt the energy as it builds.
(Furthermore, in Kundalini there are no "poses" to be adjusted but rather rapid movements that must be explored and discovered and created in each unique body. The movements are simple for this very reason: each body can do them no matter their fitness level, and they can grow and morph as the body becomes stronger and more flexible. Added to that is some amazing, deep, challenging breath work where most of the magic resides. I tell people (and it's true) that the breath work alone could give you a stronger core, which then makes for a more supported spine.)
So last week, I was pretty sick in a way that meant I could NOT move around. This was during a Kundalini class and I had always wondered what would happen, how I would handle this situation. The key, I realized, was not to over talk simply out of a desire to be doing something. The other key was to sit in simple seated as they were sitting or stand as they were standing and imagine the yoga happening in my body so that I might first, speak from a feeling state (as always), and second, be participating on an emotional and spiritual level if not a physical one.
It totally worked! They all affirmed afterward that they had just as awesome (if a bit different) an experience as always.
I also had an amazing time watching them so much more closely than I normally can. To see their faces glowing and their heart centers expanding, to witness their opening and relaxing and rejuvenating was a privilege that I usually only get glimpses of.
In a classical hatha class (of which I have had so many with many different teachers), there is a sense that there is someone leading and others following, but in Kundalini, it feels much more like a religious ritual in which every person is priest or priestess. I was relieved to find out that that feeling can be maintained no matter how I am feeling.