Tuesday, January 13, 2009

lizard on rock

what is it about us humans that makes us uncomfortable doing things with people we barely know?
actually, I'm hoping it's not just me who has this experience; perhaps it's not fair of me to take my feelings and extrapolate to the larger community.
but having witnessed varying reactions to the instructor's command "it's time for partner work," I think I'm safe in saying this is an arena that at the least, many of us are uncomfortable entering.

this morning I was a lizard.
and then I was a rock.
and both times, I was having significant body contact with a woman I don't know, and have maybe only seen a time or two before in my life.
I put on my I can do this hat, and survived.

two weeks ago I was part of a 4-person human flamingo chain (that's my name for it, as I don't think they have flamingos in india, do they?). we all stood on one leg, put our bent arms out to our sides and pressed palms with our neighbors, then leaned backward, arching our backs as far as we could go. I had to put my I can do this hat on then, as well.
and I survived.

this morning's pose involves the bottom person--the rock--in child's pose, where you kneel on your shins, then bend forward and rest your forehead on the ground, arms stretched out past your head, so you really do look a lot like a rock. well, a rock with extended arms.
the lizard then begins by sitting on your tailbone, facing backwards, then slowly reclining until their backbone is directly above the rock's tailbone, and the lizard's head ends up by the rock's head. the lizard then extends their arms up and over their head, and the rock grabs their wrists and gently pulls.
got it??
the important part for you to get is the body contact: significant.
I must say I am extremely grateful that I had positioned my mat next to a woman at the beginning of class, and that I wasn't the female at the other end of the room who had to pair up with the guy, the single Y chromosome in the room.
I would have survived that, but only after a lot of embarrassment.

I'm pretty sure we all dread partner work.
but is it the embarrassment, that we fear we will be judged and found wanting, or a reluctance to connect and somehow bond with an unknown entity? is it an unwillingness to let down our guard, our walls that protect our fragile emotional selves? or is it a superiority in some, an aversion to connecting with something that may be less than their opinion of themselves? a fear of germs?
whatever it may be for each one of us, I believe it exists.
and I also know that once the comfort boundary has been breached, smiles of fellowship surface much more easily.

I preferred being the rock, the solid base underneath another. being a lizard was less comfortable for me. are you surprised?

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