Sunday Oct. 13th
We get down to the chapel a little late today, but it’s “ag” (all good), as they say inside. Big Black moves the place holder mat in my usual spot to make space for me. I thank him and roll my mat out, saying hello to everyone. We’re all here today, making the three by three rows full. We wait a few minutes; they’re usually slow to announce that yoga is beginning. To be exact, they call a “yoga movement” to let the guys know we are here. We all kind of joke about how ridiculous that sounds–a yoga movement?–sounds kind of silly. So some of the guys aren’t here yet. But Big Black is allowed to come early so he can set everything up. We’re in the chapel (basically a multipurpose room) so it is normally filled with long, grey catering-type tables and chairs stacked up high. But I only see it like that when we are leaving, when we arrive it is usually ready to roll.
After open class, we all check-in about how our practices are going. This is always the most profound part of my day in Spring Creek; our students are always so insightful. One of the guys talks about aparigraha (non-attachment, part of the eight-limb path) and how you are still you without labels and possessions. I ponder this for a moment and think about all the things I consider myself attached to… and then I cringe a little. Now Big Mac has the floor and he talks for a while. He is super profound, self-reflective and a really hard act to follow (now it’s my turn). I share about how taking ballet these last three months has really amped up my yoga practice (it’s true… ballet is French and serious). Then I make a joke (but not really a joke because it’s true, I have never worked my feet so hard in all my life) about experiencing the worst foot cramp I’ve ever felt, and then the pure joy that follows once it subsides. I also talk about the discovery of the inner thighs (the for real discovery) and how that completely changes everything, sort of like using ballet as a new lens for my yoga practice.
Then someone mentions something about balance and how you need to maintain yourself evenly inside; not getting too high or too low. Just even.
“Mmmhmmm”, Jdubbs chimes in, “you can’t stay high for too long”.
The rest of our time in the chapel goes well and before I know it it’s 15 minutes before we have to pack up. David leads us in Nidra for the rest of the time, and at the risk of sounding basic, it’s pretty cold in the room today and it’s hard for me to relax. I start wondering if all the rooms are cold like this–like turn up the heat someone–and then I remember where I am. Duh.
We pack up, set the room back to chapel status, and leave the guys with a bottle of lemongrass mat cleaner. We make our way back through the gym and the light pouring in through the windows is quite the sight. Despite being a prison, the view from Spring Creek is actually pretty magical (surrounded by mountains and glaciers and such) in that Alaska-is-super-majestic sort of way. After we’re though all the click-click-clicks of the heavy doors we exchange our visitor passes and radio for our IDs. It’s always an interesting transition going from behind all sorts of locked doors to being more or less free driving at 70 miles per hour down the highway back to Anchorage. I’m definitely grateful for the length of the drive; it’s just about perfect to make a jump like this.