Sarah Burwick - Come To Rest

Written by Sarah Burwick.

Sundays I leave open for me to practice and not to teach. It helps me rinse out the previous week and recharge my batteries for the following week. I reserve this day for me to be in my student mind, however today I am subbing two classes and won't be able to make my own Sunday morning class. I will have to find my practice inside the teacher's mind.

I look around at the class which is a mixture of beginners, intermediates, and dancers all whom I have never taught before. The trick is how to make each posture accessible for everyone knowing every body in the class is so different. No one in the class knows who I am or how yoga has affected my life and I don't plan on telling them. My hope is to convey what yoga means to me through my teaching. I notice some skeptical faces in the room, but that doesn't intimidate me, it presents me with a challenge I am fully prepared to take on.

red flower

The two new students in the front are dancers but relatively new to yoga so I will have to throw in some fun, yet challenging postures, twists that may confuse them and stretches that make them feel at home again their bodies. The larger man in the back has "where is Dave" the normal teacher of the class written all over his face. I will have to take them to child's pose and start slow at the beginning so he will stay with me and won't shut his mind off to what I have to offer.

For me the class flies by. I didn't get all of what I wanted to get done but that's not unusual for me. Once I start creating the flow of movements in my head I get carried away and lose my own mind. This is one of the hazards of being a teacher. I will suddenly look up and ask the class what's next? It's not that I wasn't paying enough attention or that I was ill prepared for the class, rather I am so connected to my teaching that my mind, (just like it does in practice) escapes me. Often students get a kick out of it and are glad to help me out. Today my mind was more focus with all new students and by the end I felt everyone's good vibrations.

At the end of class the man in the back came up to me and asked "when you are in downward dog does that mean it is a resting pose for you?" I resisted the urge to giggle and said "Yes, it is a resting pose for me and it can be for you too as long as you are open to the experience." When you reached the restful feeling in posture you have then come home to your inner child where you can play, be silly, laugh at yourself, take risks, and feel the simple joy of being in your body.

All poses are resting poses if you create inner calmness. Some are easier than others for sure but the whole idea of yoga is to be still in your mind. If that is happening, then you are at rest, at ease, and not resisting. Yoga then becomes a moving meditation. Each breath you take builds on the one before, stirring up your internal flame with the external prana or qi. The mind is calm while the brain and body are hard at work. The brain and mind are two very different things. The brain is real, it holds your intellect. The mind is not it holds your illusions. The consciousness, awareness, and attention you need for your practice resides in the brain. There is no use for the mind.

I have come to realize myself that whenever I feel there is too much noise in my environment it means my mind is stampeding my brain. I know I need to get back to my mat to move my body. When my body is active my mind is at rest in the moments of silence between each posture. I tell the man from the back of the class "for now, child's pose is your resting pose but keep coming back to your mat and it will teach you that your resting pose is everywhere."

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