11 January, 2012

Savasana in the surf

Bikram class with Mark at Bikram Yoga Kona.

After seeing how helpful it was to do some warm-up "sun salutations" from the Vinyasa series prior to class the other day, I decided to do the same again this evening, especially since we'd arrived quite early for the class. Yesterday, we'd spent the entire afternoon and evening snorkeling. Today, we kayaked across Kealakekua Bay and then snorkeled the entire morning at Captain Cook (which was truly the best snorkeling I've ever seen anywhere).

My intention for today's class was to really stay in the moment, focusing only on the pose that was at hand. I especially did not want to have my mind flying off into thoughts of "How am I going to do this again tomorrow?!" so I put a major emphasis on feeling the poses, experiencing them, breathing.

It was a good class. I don't think I broke any particularly new ground, but the Bikram series is starting to become more familiar now. Instead of the standing series feeling interminable, I was surprised when we were already on Pyramid pose, and getting ready to move to the floor series. I made a conscious effort to not overdo it with the water at the breaks this time too.

As an instructor, Mark is very direct, and very motivational. He's got some catchy Hawaiian phrases of encouragement he uses: "Tiger Shark Determination... Humpback Whale's Strength" and similar expressions. It's cute, and it makes it feel like a unique experience being there in his studio.

Near the end of the standing series, particularly in the inverted poses like Triangle, Hamstring Stretch, Pyramid, I found myself getting very lightheaded, and also start to have a hard time keeping my arms up. I am surprised at this difficulty I have with keeping my arms up in many of the poses where arms are raised. I don't see others struggling with this, so I am curious why it is. One thing I think it could be is that tightness in my shoulders is acting as to resist my arms going up, so I'm fighting it more than people who have less tightness. But I found myself taking lots of mini-breaks between the last few sets; not skipping poses, but doing forward folds to just try to regroup.

When we laid down on the floor for our Savasana, at the start of the floor series, I suddenly noticed something subtle that I hadn't felt earlier. I felt like I was moving... swaying... rocking... it was the waves. From the previous 24+ hours of boat rides, kayak rides, snorkeling, all in reasonably surfy seas, my brain had obviously done some auto-correction signals to cancel that out. And what I was feeling, as I laid in Savasana, were the residuals of that signal. And this felt really cool. I hadn't felt it in bed the night before. I hadn't felt it at any other time. In retrospect, I realized that I'd been having some trouble with the balance poses earlier in the class, and it's not unreasonable to think that it was because something small inside my brain was still swaying.

I mentioned this to my girlfriend at the end of class, and she excitedly reported that she'd experienced the same exact feeling.

We managed to avoid the two-classes-in-twelve-hours situation by taking a day off Tuesday. But the result was the we backed ourselves up against the wall for tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, we will be heading out of Kona to go to Hilo, so it's our last chance to take our final class that we prepaid. And it's at 7:30am. I made it through this class without letting my mind wander to tomorrow. That was good.

We'll see how tomorrow goes.

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