Chuck Miller: The Beginning

In these last few days with Chuck Miller, he has invited to come to the beginning over and over again:  the beginner’s mind, the beginning of the series, and the foundations of each and every pose.  He has invited us to discard our very fast and flowing practice and instead move slowly and deliberately not allowing ourselves to lose track of any breath sequence.  I am exhausted and I haven’t even gone everyday.  Alex and I have been trading off days so that one of us can watch Walter.  It is really interesting to notice the exhaustion in my body from a practice that seemingly, on the surface, has been very slow and produces very little sweat (and as we know all Ashtangis measure the difficultly of a practice by how much sweat it produces!).

In many ways, I feel that I am more tired from this mornings’ practice than I was after I finished the full vinyasa practice last weekend.  After that, I was tired, but energized.  My body felt good.  I am not entirely sure what to make of how my body feels now, perhaps deliberative?  I feel pretty strongly that each teacher has something unique and wonderful to offer.  I also believe in the adage that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  So I try to approach each new teacher I encounter with the thought that I am looking to find that thing that is going to change me and my practice for the better.  I often find that it is in the way they say something that just clicks with me and all of the sudden something I was struggling with becomes much easier.  I have to say that it is quite ballsy for an Ashtanga teacher to walk into a workshop and force us to slow down.  We are not slow people – we like to move and push ourselves further and further.  But I have noticed lately that my practice has become a bit routine so it is really interesting to break down the poses (how about 2 ½ hours of samasthithi anyone?) and consider each placement of the foot, the hips, and the pelvis.  To move slowly in and out of each pose so that I can easily put together the foundation of the pose before more fully moving into it.  I look forward to seeing where he is going with all of this and to see how it changes how I practice.

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