Excitable me

Last night during the free asana rehearsal period I was able to sustain, for the first time ever, a free handstand after being assisted into the pose…. I still have yet to get into the pose on my own, but baby steps, right? So there I was, upside down, and I started my giddy giggle and squeal that anyone who has ever seen me incandescently happy knows so well. Of course, at that moment my pose faltered and the girl spotting me had to assist me back into steadiness. One of the instructors had been watching the whole process and she said with a glint in her eye: “Ok, Marissa. I challenge you to not get overly excited whenever you execute a difficult pose.” hmmmmm. I wonder if she’s talking about my jumping up and down after producing my first ever crow pose? Or maybe when I screamed with joy while creating my first free headstand? Maybe she’s talking about that. Becoming excited during a pose is now known amongst some of the students as “pulling a Marissa.”
Yes, I confess, I am excitable by nature. Giddy, intensely interested, and fascinated by life, I usually live with my mouth gaping in wide wonder at the world: a giant, silly smile plastered on my face. Don’t even get me started about how I act at Disneyland. A bouncing bundle of energy, I try to soak up life like a sponge and learn all there is to know. While this tends to make me a great listener, an easy laugher, a hard-worker, and a generally joyous person, it also has it’s extreme downfalls… and falling out of asana poses is only one of them. This thirst to know the ways of the world and master it all also leads me to be an over-worked, exhausted, and mentally over-stimulated person who is trying to fit the experiences of 5 lifetimes into just one.
Even amongst this calm, concentrated, and centered program, this character trait rears it’s ugly head. For fear of missing out on classes, I take more than my body can handle. For fear of not being a good teacher in the future, I over-study the information, always being the last person to bed each night. For fear of not completing my 3 challenge poses by the end of the month, I spend 2 hours practicing in the studio each night until they kick me out of the room. This makes me a great person to study with (I’m known around this program as someone to come to if you can’t remember the answers) and it makes me a caring and well-prepared teacher, but it usually adversely affects my general well-being and I push myself constantly to my mental and physical extremes in all areas of my life– be it singing, teaching, school, or yoga. The subject of balance comes back time and again as I struggle to find that joyfully prepared attitude with greater kindness and compassion for myself: finding calm amongst the storm as well as amongst the blissfully beautiful sunshine. If I find that, perhaps I will learn to contain my excitement until the pose is completed, until the aria is sung, or until the lesson is learned. Perhaps therein lies balance, freedom, success, true happiness, and a rocking handstand.

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