Doom is inevitable...

... gloom is optional*

1) I had such a tough class last Monday morning. Just a 60-minute 9am class, but I was on my knees for half of it, wondering whether it nudged out that class in Singapore that one time when I literally crawled my way out of the room afterwards, I felt so sick. (It didn’t, Singapore was worse. The worst was obviously my first class but I can’t even remember that.) The big difference this time was indifference. I was completely able to detach and just observe that it was interesting I was struggling so much. I went back to another 60-minute class at 4pm and it was much better. Every class is different.

2) I only teach one 90-minute class per week. This week’s was full, with one beginner whom I didn’t get a chance to chat with before class. She was what another teacher calls a “naughty cow”—they like to do their own thing, ignoring completely what you say. Which is fine if it’s just not doing a posture correctly, but not when it’s standing there rolling your head and your arms around while everyone else is just doing the first breathing exercise wondering what the hell they are doing. I asked her to just take a savasana if she was feeling like she didn’t want to do what I was asking, as otherwise it was distracting for the other students. I suspected she was annoyed, but she took savasana for a few poses, then she joined in, with quite a strong practice. I struggled initially to not let my fear that that one student was having a miserable time distract me from fully focusing on teaching the other students who were totally into the class. But after a while it seemed, I think, that she got swept up in their good energy and enjoyed doing what the group was doing instead of her own thing. She didn’t leave, anyway.

At the end of class, a woman who had just practised her first class in years, and after being treated for breast cancer, mouthed a big silent “Thank you!” as I left the room. Downstairs, a guy said a very solemn thank you, and told me he always feels great for two days after doing this class. He said it like he still couldn’t really believe it. Another guy told me he had had an epiphany during the class, where he realised that him not being able to put his heels together was just as adorable as him thinking that everything about someone he adores is quirky and adorable. Self-love, he understood it.

Later that day, someone else from the class sent me this image via Instagram:

As much as the 60-minute classes are great—and can still have you, or me, on our knees—you just don’t get those kinds of reactions afterwards. The 90-minute class is really when the magic (and the therapy) happens.

But, somehow, the beginner slipped out exactly the same way she slipped in. I hope she comes back.

READING

  • Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, who it turns out is Australian. I cried for the last hour of reading it and I haven’t cried reading a book for years. Guardian review.

  • Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy. Finally seeing what all the fuss is about—it’s beautiful. New Yorker review (of the first two novels).

  • Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles. Also loving this, particularly that technique of using interconnected fragments to sketch a kind of picture gradually filled in. A review here.

I’ve started following Jaclyn Crupi on Instagram—her book recommendations are spot on (except we disagree on A Little Life, problematic!). I spent a loooong time going through her posts and adding books to my library reading list over the weekend.

*—Seth Godin