A few weeks ago I got to take class with a guest teacher. I love when this teacher comes to town. He has family in the area and pops in a few times each year. I adjusted my day just so I could take class with him. He always gets me to think about my practice in a new way, and this most recent class really opened up my eyes.
During class, I noticed that he was stressing the idea of learning to wait. The idea of learning to wait – at least what I took from it – is to literally learn to not rush into/out of postures and don’t move from one step to the next in a posture until the dialogue to do so has been delivered.
Does that seem simple? Go to class and see how you do with it. 🙂
The teacher stressed that this idea of learning how to wait could be particularly challenging/important to those of us who have been practicing for awhile. Basically, if you think you know what you are doing, then you are probably ready to consider learning how to wait.
I know…I know…you might be thinking that waiting and following the dialogue isn’t that hard. Sure, maybe you don’t always do it (sometimes on accident and sometimes, let’s all be honest, on purpose), but you could totally do this if you put your mind to it, right?
When was the last time you checked in to what your monkey-brain was saying to you? Do you realize that part of doing the postures is not doing anything at all except being still????
What does your monkey-mind say to you when you are supposed to be still? Because I checked in, and here’s some of what mine had to say:
This posture sucks. Just stop it. Now. Stop doing this now.
My butt itches. Is anyone behind me? Oh who cares. They’re not supposed to be paying attention to me anyways.
Did you just watch me scratch my butt? See – that’s what you get for not paying attention to your own self.
Now my stomach itches. Why am I always so itchy during half-moon?
How many more postures until standing bow? One, two, wait…does the one I’m on now count?
Stillness between postures? That’s some crazy talk.
Wipe the sweat. No one’s looking. You can sneak it in.
With all this rambling going on in my head I am impressed that I even did a posture much less any sort of waiting. This rambling in my head definitely gets me ahead of/behind where I am supposed to be at a given moment. Yes, we all have these thoughts running through our head, but I pay far too much attention to mine. For the love of God, I plan entire meals during class while I am in postures! How can I even begin to think about waiting when I am focused on eating (I like about food a lot).
So a big part of learning to wait is, I think, learning to be still. Being still – except when you are expected to move – is very, very. very hard. However, learning to wait, listen, and be still are critical aspects for our practice. Try it. You don’t even have to try it for an entire class. Try it for one posture, or just one set of one posture, or the standing series, or every posture but Triangle – whatever you want. See what it’s like to focus on the dialogue and truly only move when you are directed to.
See what learning to wait brings.