from the mat

Looking for some positive spin on the sprained ankle, I thought today after class how having an injury is sometimes a good path back to beginner's mind. Right now, I'm wearing a brace in class, and I have to do the one-legged poses at the barre in the back of the room. I'm usually one of those front-row people, the ones who get there early to soak in the heat for 20 minutes before class starts. But since I have to go to the barre for part of class, I'm standing in the back, where you can't see your whole body in the mirror, where you are surrounded by the newer students who are struggling. And, I should note, I'm struggling too, forced to reconsider the basic dynamics of the moves. I'm newly aware of the relationship between my hip bones and my feet, the way the knee does or does not communicate between them. The poses demand all my attention, a focus that is less meditative, more precise than my usual mental state during class. More like the experience of being a beginner. My left ankle is a beginner, just starting to figure out how to last through half the class, shrinking from certain poses, stumbling through others. Right ankle, on the other hand, is an advanced student, who sometimes can't help but show off a bit. But they're both in the same class, doing the same moves. I am my ankle. Both of them.