When I was saying my affirmations this morning I threw an extra one in: "I am so happy and grateful that I am surrounded by like-minded, light bearing friends." And I truly am. During the last few years I have found amazing people in my life. Not just a living guru but several sister-friends, brother-friends, mentors and healers. All beloved by yours truly. Each unique and gifted in their own right. Each called forth by my karma to help me 'work it out'.
But there still is nothing like your very bestest friend. And if you've been following along with me, you know mine by the moniker of Tink. (read our story here)
Even though we live only about an hour or so away from each other, busy lives keep us apart. We have been planning a trip to a fantasy spa in New York for months and are determined to get there in March. She's been there once before and can't help regale me with the details; my mouth drooling. Ice rooms, several whirlpools, steam baths, heated floors.....aaahhhhh! I can't wait! Oh, the stories there will be to tell after that adventure....
We call each other once a week or so. It's the usual friend talk; How's things going on your end? How many classes are you teaching this week? What's new in the physical ailment department? What holistic treatments are you experimenting with for that? And on and on....
One of the most wonderful things about our friendship is that we are both Yoga teachers. Since we met in Yoga school, we received the same basic education in postures and have a similar understanding of asana and their energetics. I'll frequently think about Tink when I'm teaching. I wonder if she leads a posture the same way I do. I'm curious if she'll lead in to an asana the same way I do. I wonder if she has a different understanding of the energetics. We've never taken each other's classes, much to our mutual dismay. Someday.
This morning in my class we were working on setu bandhasana, bridge. During bridge I had an awakening. My upper body was so tight. Why have I been leading the muscle engagement this way all this time?!? I played with adjusting contracted muscles to see if I could still get the chest lift I was looking for while relaxing my torso. It was an experiment, as all Yoga is, but I kept thinking about Tink. I knew she would understand my question and be able to not only relate but also give me other philosophies behind this very complex posture.
So there we were on the phone tonight talking about bridge. I explained my dilemma and described to her how I lead students into bridge. She asked why I don't lead the more difficult arm position for bridge, only the torso part. I explained that I see so many students who are desperate for the 'look' of a full bridge that they'll contort their arms regardless of how poorly the rest of their posture is aligned. I got so tired of over explaining bridge and still seeing this that I just stopped leading arms. There's also my fear factor that someone will get hurt because they think it has to look a certain way.
Tink and I kept on this subject for nearly half an hour. One asana! And we could have gone on longer... There was one moment in this rather serious conversation, though, that made me laugh as only my bff can do. It was when she said, "Wait. I'm in bridge on my kitchen floor." I should have known she would have gotten into the posture. That's what Yoga teachers do. It was easier for her to feel the energetics and my dilemma if she actually could feel it in her body.
It's not unheard of for us to break into postures anywhere when we're together. We'll get on the topic of class, students or asanas and all of a sudden it's spontaneous Yoga! This includes restrooms, restaurants, shops, parking lots, etc. I had to laugh at the thought of us at the fantasy spa, sans Yoga clothes, breaking into asana in the Ice Room.... I told you there would be stories to tell!
It's not the first time that Tink and I have 'been on the bridge' together. We both have the same guru although we received Shaktipat several years apart. One of the post-Shaktipat ceremonies is to throw a coconut into a body of natural water. Weird, I know. I won't get into why you have to do this, but you have to. So after Tink went through Shaktipat we had scheduled a play date. We hadn't seen each other in over a year and a half. We had so much to talk about. She brought her coconut with her. It was a cold winter day and we walked to the nearby bridge over the Naugatuck River . We ceremoniously threw her coconut off the bridge. It made a loud thunk on a rock then floated away downstream. This is a once in all your lifetimes experience and I was honored she allowed me to be there when she did it. We laughed at what the drivers in the cars next to us must have thought. We walked arm in arm off the bridge. Every time I drive over that bridge, I see us there and hear her Shaktipat coconut's thunk.
I guess friends are the bridges of life. There to support you over turbulent waters. There to keep you on the right road. And there to hold you up as you throw your karma downstream.