I recently took a three-week workshop series on partner acrobatics. It probably goes without saying that this was incredibly fun for me! Something that really surprised me about this workshop series is that I thought I learned something different than what my teacher saw in me. From my perspective, I learned about just how severe my imbalances are! I have so much organic energy and so little muscular! I am all about expanding out and need to work extremely hard to hug my muscles back in. This means a lot more core-building work in my home practice.
I also learned a lot about my own body and how I move. I've been practicing yoga for nearly ten years now and most of the time, I feel pretty confident about how to move and where my body is in space. Well that all changed when I was suspended in the air. I had no idea where my legs were and how to get them to go where they were supposed to. More than once I had to practice what I had to do on the ground before doing it lifted in the air. This made me instantly more sympathetic to my own students! I had forgotten what it was like to teach my body to do something so completely out of the ordinary. I realize how much I ask of my students. I am very proud of them for their great achievements and I'm also now reminded to be patient as it takes time for them to figure things out and for all these new movements to work their way into muscle memory. What surprised me the most in the workshop was that my teacher could see over only three weeks the improvements I made in understanding my body in space, and as I worked out this understanding, I became more confident in the various stunts that we learned. As a student, it's so wonderful to have progress acknowledged!
This is one of the many benefits of studying with others, even in a different discipline, that we can learn even more than we think we learn because we have our teachers' insight to shine back at us!