Posted in Learning Yoga

Learning yoga – know thyself

One of the weirdest parts of my yoga classes is the extreme difficulty I face in following instructions. And I am really not sure why. It’s not that I don’t listen to my teacher. It’s hopefully not because I am dumb or slow. And I don’t really have a hearing problem. It’s definitely not because I have some kind of resistance to learn the right technique. I am desperate to learn. After ages, I am learning or doing something because I really care to and really want to. But all said and done, I can’t seem to get most of the instructions right. And I confess I gave it more thought than probably required. And the conclusion was kind of interesting and a little uncomfortable.

The interesting part is the realization that I am a visual person. I find it very difficult to follow instructions in words. Whenever my teacher shows a pose first, I follow instructions very well when practicing after that. Whenever she starts giving instructions in words, I find myself confounded like a fool. And I saw this happening multiple times. But could never figure out why. Then I started looking at other parts of my life and realized that everywhere I seem to have a better comprehension when I look at things or pictures and when its words, I have to read again and again multiple times to get it right. It’s kind of ironical given that I wish to be a writer someday. I even think visually. I almost always have a picture or diagram or video in my head when I think of a new concept or idea.

The uncomfortable part is that I have very limited awareness of my own body. So when she says, lift your left leg and keep hands besides your body, I am confused. I look around to figure out what’s happening. I have difficulty figuring out left from right and heels from knees from thighs. Even more difficult is the part where I have to act on those instructions… when I have to tell my leg or arm to act in accordance to the technique. And most difficult is to tell the rest of the body to just get lost for a while; I am trying to concentrate on my hands or legs for now.

It’s most disappointing when she starts telling benefits of a particular pose or exercise… and I am completely lost because I have no clue what’s the job of this gland and where is this located in my body and how to associate it with this pose. I only understand basic snippets of information like ‘this will keep you young’ etc.  I almost feel like a stupid kid in school who has no clue what the teacher is saying. But of course, I come back and read online to understand and make sense of all that I heard in class. It’s kind of unfortunate that I don’t know how my body functions. How am I gonna keep it healthy then? Also, I guess that somehow the whole effort of self-awareness and enlightenment is incomplete if I can’t even know and feel my body.

And as always, I couldn’t help but reflect on my education while I was growing up. How could I have not learnt this in school? Or maybe I wasn’t paying attention in the class… maybe I just slept in class and then mugged up a few right answers to pass in exam. And never made any attempt to really learn. I realized I learnt very little in school and I never tried to learn on my own. While growing up (or rather after I grew up), I tried to learn as and when the need presented itself. This holds true for geography, history, practical science, maths, statistics, etc and now biology.

Note to self… buy a basic and advanced biology book and understand human body and how it functions. As much as I would like to say I am smart, intelligent etc, the fact is that I don’t even know the basics of life. And as much as I would like to claim a higher awareness about everything, the truth is that I don’t even know the fundamentals of my existence.

I am disappointed but motivated. Somehow, I am finding the whole prospect of learning biology very exciting right now… a new thing to explore… a new subject to learn.

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