lately i have been returning from a period of being remiss with my own workouts; this happens on occasion and doesn’t worry my overly much as long as the breaks aren’t too long. in this case the return after the holidays just wasn’t quite happening and it turns out that this particular break was amazing.
i got inspired, randomly, one saturday morning when my last client had unexpectedly cancelled; so i worked out by myself. it was delicious, i did a pile of my old homework and some simple and yet deeply satisfying things like footwork on the reformer.
interestingly enough, as i was working away in silence and looking at the sky out the window i started to hear voices in my head.
okay one voice, mine in fact, saying back to me all the ‘common phrases’ i hear myself say every day to my clients. little things and big ones, things that are easy to me and hard.
i heard my own voice in my head falling into teaching rhythms and telling me what to do (feel your thigh bones fall into your hip sockets, feel your arches lift and connect to your hamstrings, feel your pelvis still as your legs move, feel your breath expanding your low backs and sides of ribs…) this is different in two ways.
always before when i was working alone i would hear other teachers in my head and my own train of thought trying to decide what exercises to do. my train of thought was always that of a student (now what? is it okay if i…?) and the teaching voices were those of some amazing teachers who had their hands on my body and their voices in my mind. teachers i still hear all the time when i’m teaching or exercising but i don’t hear them the same way anymore.
or maybe i do but there’s another voice that’s joined them as my instructor instead of as a student. joined them as an equal as it were.
it was so interesting to hear myself from “the other side” and to enjoy my cueing more as something i just hear and do (like with a teacher) than as something i think about and consider for a while before i actually do it.
what’s funny is that i understand why some of the things that i say work so well from a totally different perspective; i hear what those words sound like if you aren’t watching the body in front of you, if you are the body in front of you.
somehow years of practice and teaching and studying all came together and something new was born.
they say you have to practice something for ten thousand hours before you become a master. they say “see one, do one, teach one.” they say that only when you can teach something do you truly understand it. this is for sure true and i am reminded every time that i work with a body that is far more capable than my own, or one that is utterly different [say a totally stiff and inflexible man.]
to take everything i know and wrap it around a totally different body with it’s own tweaks and twists and to try as well as humanly possible to discern the root of the imbalance teaches me every single day to be better. the more i do this the more i understand it. the more i understand it the less i know. the further down the well i go the deeper the bottom looks…
so i know that this moment will pass and deeper and more profound realisations will come. other concepts and movement patterns will hit me like a sack of hammers and i will be reminded, profoundly and painfully, of just how much there is for me to learn and just how unlikely it is that i will ever feel like i know enough.
but nonetheless something pretty remarkable happened to me the other day…
i have, finally and truly, become my own teacher.