03 January, 2012

How does it feel to stand as you?

Noon Hatha class with Ginger.

Recovering from my cold, but there's no doubt that I am still weak

(should I have just taken the day off?)

Perhaps I should have just taken the day off, but I knew that I will likely miss tomorrow because of dinner plans, and I had something going on after work today too, so it left me with the option of skipping or doing a noon class.

I've never done a noon class before. I saw that Ginger was teaching Hatha, and I'd never taken a Hatha class with Ginger before, so there were a few reasons why this just seemed like an interesting thing to try today. In contrast with my usual evening visits, where I recognize the vast majority of the people in the class and in the locker room, today there was not a soul (save one) that I recognized.

The room felt hot from the start of the class, but I am now starting to think that "how I feel" is a much more important determinant of the impact of the heat than the actual temperature.

Ginger tends to do slightly different order to her routine than standard. This was true for her Vinyasa, and also true for the Hatha. For instance, we started off class on the floor for several minutes with some simple hip stretches before beginning the standing series. This is one of the things that I've liked about her classes is that they are just a slightly different flavor than the norm. She also seems to favor very quiet, meditation music, which is nice. The energy in the class was very soft and peaceful. I feel like her class really focuses on the breath, and it is helpful the way she will indicate pose duration by telling us the number of breaths that we'll be in the pose. Even if the number turns out to be slightly different for each person, there's something easier about staying in the pose, when you are counting breaths, instead of wondering how many seconds are left.

In spite of the easy pace and energy of the class, I struggled again. I think it was slightly less of a struggle than yesterday. The hamstrings were very tight, as were the hips, especially in front, pulling the knees in toward the chest. It feels like the tightness is residual from the Yin class two days ago. I always find that leg muscles tend to get progressively tighter for a couple of days after a deep workout, whereas upper body soreness tends to peak sooner. I've never been clear on why that is, but it seems to be the case.

Today, the effort to get that right foot wrapped in Eagle was a no-go. It almost got back there, but it just wanted to pop back out, and I found that my balance was pretty shaky today, so any attempt to force that foot behind just caused wobble.

On most of the standing series, I felt the need to go very conservative today. On "Standing Head-to-Knee" pose, I didn't feel like I should try to fold forward or extend, because my standing leg was wobbling all over the place. On Eagle, there was no sleeping, and no Warrior 3 today. By the end of the standing series, I was kind of dizzy and lightheaded again. Not quite as much as yesterday.

Again on the upside, the Warrior 2 and Extended Side-Angle felt better on my knees than it has felt in past weeks. Maybe I've learned some subtle adjustment? Or it might be that the weather has been a little bit warmer (this is continuing on the assumption that the knee thing is arthritis, but that's undiagnosed).

After class, I found that I could not get my heart rate to settle down. It was still way over 100 a half-hour after class. I really don't know what that's about. Of course, my mind started running with it, and wondering if I have some sort of a heart condition. Mind racing. Mind racing. Mind racing. Should I go to the doctor? But last week, my heart didn't hurt, and I did not have a cold. It's the cold. Nonetheless, the heart is a funny thing, because when it doesn't feel right, it triggers panic, which then makes the heart feel even worse. An unpleasant feedback loop. I tried to use my breath to contain it, but I kept coming back to that feeling of my heart, and it kept triggering the little panic.

At one point during today's class, Ginger had us close our eyes in Mountain pose, and she told us to just "experience how it feels to stand as you." I liked this notion of self-recognition worded as such.

Today, it felt kind of shaky and unstable standing as me.

I also noticed that now I am having a little trouble avoiding thinking about this blog during the class. I am trying to find what it is that I'll want to write about. If something happens, I'll start obsessing on making sure I remember it. Or I'll just be thinking about what today's story is. I suppose that is just a microcosm of the everyday struggle between the moment and my thoughts. But I want to ensure that I am coming to my practice as a student, and not a journalist.

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