This Is the heart of what she was trying to teach us. As we settled in, she let us know that this class would be different than the others. She would teach us a sequence and then we would be on our own to move with the flow of our own energy.
Do not worry about remembering the sequence. Be guided by your body, by how you feel.
And so we began. She led us through the first sequence and then handed the practice over to us. I felt almost immediately frustrated. I tried to remember. I questioned if I was doing it ‘right’ and I got so lost in my head. All of those things she had given us permission to let go of, I held onto tightly.
The tears that had been burning in my eyes all morning returned and I was deeply grateful when the time came to rest in pigeon pose.
The next time, I went immediately to child’s pose, giving my mind the break, and that’s when the tears began pouring out of me. I could feel that my body needed to move. I could feel that without the distraction of movement the emotion and tears flowed like a river. I felt stormy inside my belly.
I had found two extremes. I found movement that ignited frustration and anxiety. I found stillness that made me feel antsy and soaked in tears.
Sometimes we need to feel the extremes to find the Tao, or the Way.
In our final sequence, I gave myself the permission she had been giving us all along. I gave myself the permission Lao Tzu had given me when he said, “let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
I knew I needed to move my body. I knew I needed simplicity of movement.
I flowed through sun salutations, following my breath, reaching my heart forward, and tucking it back inside, until she guided us to come back to downward dog and then to rest.
She had said before we began that all the waves of the ocean are different, and together they make up the ocean. She likened watching us to this same image, sharing how powerful it was to see our bodies all guided to moving in the way that felt natural for us.
When we tear down the wall of resistance, when we give ourselves the permission to flow with our needs and desires, we not only perhaps catch a glimpse of the Tao, we catch a glimpse of the home that resides within.