Teaching a class the other day, I found myself completely butchering my lefts and rights:
“Now inhale and step your left foot between your hands. No, I mean your RIGHT foot. Is it left? Are we on our right or left? Did we do this side? Wait a minute. I meant step your right foot in front of your left FOOT. Not between your hands! Okay. Where were we?”
Gah! My confusion comes from the attempts to mirror – a maddening technique where a teacher will demonstrate on their right, but call it left in order to create less confusion in your audience. Right. Quite simply, it blows my mind.
I struggle with the practice of mirroring on a normal day, but even more so as we transition to fall – a time of year that leaves me feeling agitated and have always met with mixed emotions.
(Of course, attempts to mirror in job #1 (yoga teacher) comes with a permanent sense of confusion in job #2 (high school teacher) when it comes to left and right. The other day, I was talking a teenaged student through a spreadsheet, all the while barking, “scroll to the left, scroll to your left, scroll to your OTHER left.”)
The transition into fall has a tendency to call our attention to chaos and lack of equanimity in our lives. We shift into different routines, our diet & sleep habits change with the temperatures, the passing of Autumnal Equinox has the days getting shorter…. The uncertainty of which tends to throw us off our game.
Being a lover of the summer, (and a school teacher) fall always meant summer was over and that was NOT a good thing. I’ve always loved the light, the heat, the food, and the overall spirit of summer. Growing up, I always felt a sense of loss as autumn rolled in because the darkness of winter has always been my most challenging season.
Which is why, if you’ve practiced with me lately, you might’ve noticed my preoccupation with balance.
Because, whether I liked it or not, I’ve learned through my yoga practice that it’s much easier to live in harmony with the seasons instead of fighting them.
Fall can be a beautiful time of year with the very special purpose of balancing out the summer with the coming winter. It is the stabilizing force that allows all of nature (including us) to prepare for and adapt to the colder, darker months ahead. Through my practice, I’ve learned to more fully appreciate the need for balance in nature which, just like us, is always changing. So, in that, I am working toward appreciating this time of year for what it is rather than what I wish it could be.
As we move into fall, it is a good time go inward – to notice where we feel uneasy, unbalanced, as well as to reflect on all that we are grateful for and to transition into this cycle just as nature does, with ease and grace.