27 January, 2012

Are those even real yoga poses?

Friday @ noon, Power Vinyasa with Patrick.

Today was a day where the only way I was going to have time to do yoga was in the middle of the day. I was kind of excited to do another Patrick class. I think I have only been to one or two of his classes. The ones that I have done were challenging, so (talking about expectations) I was ready for whatever came my way. But, this was a truly amazing class, because (pardon my language) shit came our way that I didn't even know was possible!

Patrick started the class with what could only be described as a very non-traditional opening flow. There was no leisurely Sun Saluation A or B. This might well have been called "Patrick's Special Sun Salutation A-to-Z" because we did more in the first minutes of that class, including unusual twists and sequences, than I have ever done in any class. In fact, Patrick even joked, after that sequence, that we had just done a full 60 minute class in the first ten minutes. And it got more interesting from there.

We did Side Planks, flipping over to "Belly-of-the-Beast" on the opposite side, straight into Half Wheel (from a "3-Legged Downward Dog"). And this was all laced together with lunges, and twists, and warriors, and half moons, and standing splits, and airplanes. There was one long sequence that filled the better part of the middle of the class. It was so amazingly intricate and long, doing various poses on both sides of the body, that I was certain - 100% certain - that there was no way that he'd be able to lead us through the mirrored sequence of this meandering series. But, sure enough, to a beat, we did the entire thing on the other side (to my recollection) identically. All told, the series had to have taken twenty minutes or more.

The class featured many demonstrations of poses I'd never seen before, transitions I'd never imagined, with the added inspiration coming from seeing Patrick gracefully navigate these moves, explaining what every muscle in the body is doing to produce the maneuvers, and helping us to understand what it all leads up to in terms of other things that we can eventually do.

All this could be discouraging; daunting, even. But somehow it's not. Patrick had some great words of encouragement around this. Reminding us that we were going to see a lot of poses that we may not be able to do. But to keep an openness in our minds, and to remember that it is not "I can't do that," but rather, "I can't do that... yet."

The unpredictability of his class really does bring "the moment" into sharp focus. There can be no anticipation in a Patrick class. There can be no boredom. No monotony. There's very little time for "thought." There's just a truly inspiring atmosphere that makes you want to see how much of that craziness you can actually do.

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