At the moment, I have four teachers from whom I take yoga classes. Each of them offers something unique and special. What I love about David is the bits of wisdom that he offers throughout class. He has a gift for the way in which words roll off his tongue that are so powerful and true that they strike me to my core. (I really wish I had this ability!) He also makes me laugh a lot, which I find just as therapeutic as moving and opening up the body. Monday night was his first class since returning home from his teaching overseas on a yoga retreat, followed by a yoga festival in Vermont. I had missed his humor and personality while he was away for those three weeks, but after having already taken one physically intense class before his, I was in a quiet and distant mood as his class began.
About halfway through the class, we did a standing “block exercise” that we sometimes do to help our bodies learn proper alignment for poses such as handstand. In this exercise, we place one yoga block between our thighs and squeeze it to help align our lower bodies and then we place our palms around the sides of the second block and extend it straight in front of us as if offering someone a gift. While we do this, David usually reminds us that if someone is offering us a gift of their anger, we can simply choose not to accept it. My eyes drew toward his as we extended our blocks in anticipation of this reminder. At times in the past, when presented with a “gift” of someone’s anger, I would only remember this scenario after the fact and wish that I had remembered it in that moment. If I had, I wouldn’t have wasted my time feeling badly about something that I did not need to. Last week, however, I was presented with such a gift and I very swiftly did not accept it and told the person it was time for me to leave the situation. The things I am learning are starting to take hold!
David saw my eyes on him as he began to speak. “Think of the block as what you offer to the world. You can choose to fill it with cynicism, bitterness, and hatred. And then you can try and give it to Wendy. But she’s not going to take it. She’s going to say, ‘I ain’t got time for that!’ and then you will have to keep it and it will become very heavy. Or you can choose to fill it with love and kindness and then you can take as much as you want because it is self-generating and will always produce more.” (!)
How perfect- the timing of his words, his choosing me as an example. (Okay, I also really love how he personally acknowledges me in most of his classes! Nothing feels better to me than being seen). In my head, I strongly agreed with him. He’s right. I don’t have time for that. And I made that perfectly clear last week and wasted no time thinking or feeling anything differently. I’m making progress and it feels good. I am so fortunate to be reminded of these extremely important lessons in life!
At another point in class, he asked us to change the interlace of our hands, which is another common alignment request to help bring balance to the body. (I remember the first time he asked us to do this when I started taking classes at this studio three years ago and how embarrassingly difficult this seemingly simple task was for me back then. Now, it is so easy!). He asked us, “If that was an extremely neurologically challenging task for you, what is going to happen when you get into a relationship?!” Great question!! Another pearl of truth! He then told us that that simple action of changing our regular pattern reminds us that there are many other possibilities… I immediately became filled with hope! When you release yourself from a situation that diminishes you, you instantly open up a whole lot of space to fill with something more positive, loving, and inspiring!
I feel so lucky that I get to attend yoga classes at this amazing studio and because I know that not everyone can, I thought I would share these little reflections with you!
Thank you, David Vendetti!!