Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When Your Job Is Driving You Up the Wall...

I work at a coffee shop in the village. I spend my entire 7-8 hour shift on my feet on uneven ground covered in coffee beans and coffee oils. By the time I get off, my feet are not happy campers, and to add insult to injury, I still have a respectable number of blocks to cover before I get home, and even then usually half a dozen things to do around the house before I can get off of my feet. All too often, my feet are still not happy campers when I wake up the next morning.

That is, until a couple weeks ago...as previously noted, I've been taking a restorative class every Sunday, which has been absolutely fantastic. Almost every week we spend ten to fifteen minutes in a pose quite aptly named "legs up the wall." The most complicated thing about this pose is getting into it: you just lie on the floor with your sit bones against the wall, and your legs extended straight up the wall. This pose puts a gentle stretch in my tight hamstrings, gives my back a chance to realign itself against a straight, solid surface, and most refreshingly, gives my feet the joyous experience of being on top instead of the bottom. All that blood goes rushing back down to parts unvisited, and my feet can just fully relax. After five to ten minutes of this occupation, my feet are all but whistling. All things considered I can't believe it took me as long as it did to make it part of my nightly routine!

Now I do legs up the wall every night just before rolling over and settling down to sleep. Going to sleep with feet that don't ache was the most immediately palpable perk of this practice, but of course, not the only one. As someone who consistently struggles with building and maintaining an at-home yoga practice, having the proper motivation to practice asana absolutely every night without fail (albeit only one asana) has been incredibly eye-opening. It is so grounding to end each day with yoga. Of course, most days I take a studio class, but on the days I work, that's not really an option, so legs up the wall becomes my yoga oasis. It's a beautiful and beautifully simple practice and while I'm practicing patience as far as expanding my nightly yoga routine, I suspect it will evolve to include perhaps at least a couple more poses...

Omily Yours,
~em

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Setting my Intention

Woo, so, among the whirlwind of events that has been my life as of late, I've started doing work study (karma yoga) at a studio in Williamsburg. It's a really nice studio. I'm a fan of the style of the classes, the over all atmosphere of the place, the various and varying workshops that are offered, the hypnotic fragrance of lemongrass and lavender forever in the air, the lovely people I've met there, and the size of the operation (compared to Yoga to the People: very small!). All of these factors have made my work study a three hours a week that I very much look forward to. What I find most relevant to myself as a yogini and teacher, more even than the chance to help maintain a space and interact with students, is the study this has been in that often puzzling and usually frustrating Hindu concept:

You're entitled to your work. You are not entitled to the results of your work.

It would be a lie to say that I wouldn't be thrilled to get a chance to teach at this studio. It would be a lie to say that fond daydreams of that possibility played absolutely no role in my taking part in the work study program, though continuing to practice at this studio without draining additional funds from our budget was the prime motivator, the chance to help out at a place I had a lot of respect for being a close second.

I don't have a problem admitting that, and I don't think it's a problematic thought pattern, but the minute I let teaching at this studio become the goal of my work study, I've just sucked all the joy right out of it. It's possible that eventually I'll get a chance to audition at this studio, since the owner does have a chance to see my dedication to my practice and the space, and my interactions with students, but it's also hugely possible that the owner wants to stick with graduates from this studio's teacher trainer program, or teachers with more experience, or people with prenatal yoga training, or any number of things. If work study is only a means to an end, the odds are pretty good I'll wind up feeling disappointed, bitter, even used.

Whose fault would that be? There was nothing in the work study ad about any possibility for the position to lead to a job opportunity. I would have made a huge assumption, and I would pay the price for it.

I'm entitled to my three hours a week. I'm entitled to enjoying the fragrance while I mix up the mat spray. I'm entitled to sit outside for a bit and pet the resident cats if there's nothing at the moment that needs done. I'm entitled to meet new people who may become friends, business connections, both, or neither. I'm entitled to the soothing and zen-like occupation of sweeping the studio floor. That's good enough for me.

Live Omily,
~em