Brain flips and the Bee Gees

Sixty minutes into class, I am pretzeled into a twisted, dragon slaying, sweaty warrior princess number 27 pose.  My quads and hams twitch, arms pulled out of their sockets, I’m not breathing right and want to throw a rock at the stereo system playing the ancient, calming sitar “music”. It is a long, rough class and my favorite thing to do on Saturday morning.  A minute or two into the pose the sitar fades and is replaced by a familiar set of first notes and  then falsetto…

“Well you can tell by the way I use my walk I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk.  Music loud and women warm, I’ve been kicked around since I was born….ah, ah, ah, ah stayin’ alive”

All of a sudden my mind’s eye becomes film screen.  John Travolta walking down Flatbush Ave. in his tight blue jean bell bottoms, strutting in perfect time to Stayin’ Alive.  The music makes my head bob, the film in my head makes me smile and all of a sudden I’m not so twisted, I am prana yammaing again and I can for sure hold this crazy pose for the next three minutes and even longer if Barry just keeps singing.

That’s what Myra does.  She is a true yogi, and not an aerobics instructor in disguise yoga instructor. A real, classic with a twist, yogi.  She leads you to a challenge that is harder than you would ever think possible, she brings you to the mental brink where the voice in your head says “stop this madness”,  and then BOOM!  she does something that gets you through.  She calls it changing your brian chemistry and sometimes it means changing the direction you are facing on the mat and sometimes it means cueing a smile in the middle of a hard pose, and sometimes it means playing the Bee Gees, evoking spontaneous Hustle, after an hour of crazy hard asanas.  Changing the chemistry flips a switch and startles you out of the “I can’t do this crazy shit anymore!” place and takes you to “Damn, I am sooooooo gooooood!”.  I leave that class not feeling like I just got my ass kicked but feeling instead that I just wrote my PhD dissertation.  Accomplished, challenged and inspired to grab more.

Changing the brain chemistry is the little something extra that gets you through the hardness of the lesson.  Its the payback for the pushing and the key to your students having the successful feeling that comes when they accomplish the difficult.  Knowing that this little something extra is critical, is what makes teachers like Myra magical.

Thinking there needs to be a little spontaneous Hustle in the middle of the next class I teach.



Author: Eileen O'Toole

A quick service restaurant vet who loves food, teaching, learning and being a single Mom. Believes that waking up each day with a positive attitude and a smile on your face can change the world.

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