Training Day 5: Or the time when Paul had to teach while doing a handstand
Coconuts Drunk: 2
Power Animal: Racoon
Favourite Pose: Fridayasana
Have you ever seen the Hunger Games? Remember that bit when Jennifer Lawrence and crew are running from the killer mist? That was Wednesday, except Jennifer was a trillion mosquitoes and the mist was a fog bomb. Welcome to Bali.
Les peered over his glasses sagely, “Every bit of Paradise (Paradise, translation Earth) has it's darkness”.
"Top of the top, top of the middle, middle of the middle, bottom of the middle, top of the bottom, middle of the bottom...?" Card picked: The racoon. Referred to as 'little bandit' in some cultures, this Robin Hood of the animal kingdom represents compassion and pure generosity of spirit (so we learned today). Unique amongst its animal brethren, the racoon when raiding a supply of food will, instead of gobbling down everything instantly (my food eating habit of choice), chooses the tastiest of morsels and carrys them back to the look out – a gift of gratitude for being their protector.
Les weaved this furry little friend into our morning sequence; reminding us that we are not building our students up to rely on us but to give them the tools to 'fend' for themselves, in that dog eat downward dog world outside the studio door. In practice he stayed with me in Hanumanasana (splits) for what seemed like hours, lengthening out my hamstrings by pushing on the ball of my foot saying gently, 'Don't think I do this because I don't love you'.
Les is the most racoon-like teacher I have ever had, pouring his tastiest teaching tips straight into our outstretched and grabby little hands. For example, doing observations he witnessed Paul teaching a group, beautifully but quietly: 'Hey, Paul..PAUL – I want your voice to be so darn sexy I'm gonna want to leap onto that mat and let you teach me abs'. Giggles, but no change. In seconds, Les had leapt across the room and was dancing with Paul..and still nothing. At this point I turned back to what I should have been doing (probably Yoga) only to turn around to Paul's voice singing loud and clear across the room. Les had put him in a handstand and told him to teach like that instead.
It's Day 5, everything is getting cranked up a gear. 'Easy bird of paradise' I had never considered 'easy', until we did numero duo this morning. Wowza. That was coupled with some crazy contortions (NY Fashionables would be proud) called head and to ankle and tangled pigeon. Our insides rinsed and our hips opened up to infinity and beyond we were on the floor. And happy.
Of course it's easy to be happy in Paradise, especially on a Friday in Paradise. But maybe the mosquitoes are there biting us to remind us that all experience is as striped as a racoon: white, black and with streaks of grey. And even despite the fogging, they're still there. Biting. Reminding. Resilient little buggers.