22 January, 2012

THIS is all you need to do

Power Vinyasa with Jo.

Though I have taken many classes with Jo, it's been a while since I've had one. Thus, this is the first time I'm writing about it. I think it's been a combination of the holidays and the weather.

Back into Studio A, where the heat is flowing, and so are we. This was a great class today. For some reason, today's intention came to me out of the blue: "Have fun!" I could tell from square one that it was going to be a hard class, but I felt great, and I wanted to see if it was possible to relish each pose, and its difficulty, and not allow my experience to flip to being a struggle or a burden.

She had us do some pretty intense stuff tonight. Alternating between Chair and Crescent Lunge by tapping the foot backward briefly, and then returning to Chair. Culminating that series in an Airplane, followed by a Half Moon, and finally back to Warrior II. The only saving grace of this intense series is that the left and right sides were separated by a fairly long intervening sequence that was not as intense.

I felt great through most of the class, but my head got in the way toward the very end of class. We were doing a series that was based around Dolphin pose, and I found myself immediately wanting to resign to the modification. But I sort of went back and forth. First, I put my knees down. Then I lifted them back up. What I discovered was that, in Dolphin, my mind immediately starts thinking "How much is she gonna make us do in this pose? How long is this going to last? I don't know how long I can stay like this! This is hard!" And, as soon as I go there, I am already "mitigating risk" and taking that modification, even though the experience in my body, in that moment, was not unbearable.

This is something I think that I do quite often. I forget "what is" and focus on "what might be," and of course, this is typically in the form of some sort of worst-case scenario. I am most definitely not just referring to the yoga mat. In fact, much more in life, in general.

Something similar happened at the end of the class, too. We'd gone to the floor. The standing series was done. Long sigh... We'd done some abdominal work. We'd done some stretches. We'd done Bridge and Wheel. And my mind went to "Okay, it's gonna be over now." But there were more stretches. And suddenly, the heat was oppressive, and I was thinking "How much more?!" and feeling like I could not wait to be done. The thing is, these were all stretches that I like. But I'd got it in my head that the finish line was upon us, and the curve ball of a couple more poses threw me for a loop. My heart rate was up a little more than it should have been. And I tried breathing, and tried focusing on the moment, but it's almost like once you lose the moment, it's a hell of a lot harder to get it back again.

The title of this blog came from a thought I had after class: "This I can do. But when it becomes this and that, is when I run into trouble. And the reality is that we can only ever do this which is right in front of us."

There was a time where I would have been afraid to set an intention of any sort, or make any commitment or promise, because of the fear of the letdown if I didn't follow through. Today, I had fun for about 52 minutes. And the last 8 minutes were W*O*R*K.

Is this all just part of the practice?

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