The first time Mei and I practiced yoga together before she went to teacher training she told me "Oh, you're a flexi". Bikram teachers often talk about how there are two body types. The strong ones and the flexible ones. The strong ones need to use their incredible strength to buy some flexibility. The flexis need to work on their strength. When I first started yoga, I couldn't touch my toes. I assumed that meant I was one of the "strength" people. As I began to practice yoga and open up my body, I progressed along in the flexibility area, but you don't see me touching my forehead to my toes with Bikram himself bouncing up and down on my back, so I still had it in my head that "I am not flexible". That was my truth. When Mei said that to me I looked at her, head tilted to the side like "huh?" I wasn't ready to change that truth. This past weekend, sitting at the Christmas party check in table, chatting with teacher Sharon, I was again told I was a "flexi". I said Sharon, why do you say that? She said, you just are, your body type is a flexi, you've got a very flexible and lovely spine (J, I no longer have spine envy!!) I decided, right then and there to start telling myself "I am flexible". I have embraced this new truth and it has actually begun to change my practice after just a few short days. Mei said to me "be careful what you think, because your cells are listening". It works to the positive as well!
Tonight was Mei's first class. Tonight, I got to see Mei complete the circle. Armed with my new flexible attitude I was front row center at her first class. Her Bikram teaching cherry was offically popped during a real class, with real students. No mock class for this new teacher, we threw her right into the fire! She got up there, got the headset adjusted and smiled. She asked if there were any first timers. There was one. She asked his name and gave him the little "first timer" speech with poise and confidence. Then she launched into pranayama breathing. What followed next was very good dialog, good timing and even some jokes! While in forward fold shaking our hips out left and right, left and right she says "It's Vegas, shake your hips like a showgirl!". Then for standing bow when we said the "mama give me money" she said "don't drop the money or I'll use it for my flight home". After balancing stick she said "you're heart is probably beating out of your chest feeling like it's going to break. Don't worry, yoga won't break your heart only love will". Then at the end she said "everybody give a hand for andrew, he did great for his first time!". As we are clapping she said "Andrew, after the last posture we are going to do a bunch of pushups and jumping jacks, ok?". He looked a bit scared for a minute, then laughed. He had done great, attempting every posture and was probably wiped out at that point. I know I was! Aside from the jokes, there was another pretty momentous event (well for me anyway). I got my forehead to my knee second set left side! That is the first time ever I have kicked out, held it, got the elbows down below the calves, and hugging the calves tight. I was looking in the mirror at my elbows and I thought "they are in position, I need to go for it!" So I did. And I touched my forehead to my knee. Forehead to knee cherry popped. I didn't keep it there for very long, but that's ok.
Mei ended the class at roughly 98 minutes (not bad for first time!) and was given lots of sweaty hugs in the lobby. It was announced before class that she was from Malaysia, had just finished teacher training and that it was her first time teaching. Students who didn't know her looked at her expectantly, probably uneasy that their "routine" was being disturbed. Those same students gave her kudos after class, said she did great (she did!). I was honored to be there and see her complete the circle. I felt a the same way I feel when I watch my daughter in dance or sports. I got a bit teary eyed at the end during final breathing. **looks around** Sshhh! Don't tell her that!