12 February, 2012

Ebb and flow

Yesterday was the interminable tortuous 90 minutes of Hatha.

And today was 60 minutes of blissful Hatha with Diane. 

The yoga mat seems to be the ultimate exemplification of how every day is a new day. Yesterday was horrible. Certainly no fault of the instructor -- Colette is a wonderful instructor, and I generally love her class. But I showed up anticipating badness, and that is indeed what I got. Today, I showed up intent upon having a different experience. I came to the mat knowing that it had to be different. I had to just let it be good. And whatever the circumstances cooperated with my intention.

The class was surprisingly packed for a Hatha class. Diane has had the large room for her Sunday afternoon Hatha classes recently, and today there were at least 80 people in the room. That's crowded but not unmanageable. She kept the room at a temperature which I would call "comfortable." I don't actually know what it was during class. It's odd, because I would have guessed it was in the high 80s, but the thermometer (way on other side of room) said 100 degrees when I left at the end of class. I don't think it was that hot on our side, but it was certainly humid, and I sweated a ton. But I felt great. It's as if there were a collective energy in the room that everyone got to share. It was clear that many of the people in the class today were Vinyasa regulars who were dropping in for a Hatha class due to the altered Sunday schedule. I could tell this partly because of a lot of unfamiliar faces, but also because there were a few spots, such as the transition from standing to floor, where many people didn't seem to know which way to face (head toward the mirrors, feet toward the back wall). So I feel like we had some Vinyasa energy coming into the Hatha class. And that was kind of neat.

The other really nice thing about the class was that it was quiet and peaceful. For the most part, Diane did not play any music. This was helpful, too, because she doesn't use a headset microphone, so it would have been hard to hear if she'd played music. For a Hatha class, you don't really need to hear every word the instructor says. Things are slower, and if you have a general sense of the sequence of things, you can just intuit it, and follow what everyone else is doing.

My balance was a little better, again, but Standing Bow still seems to be a tricky one. It's a weird pose, because I feel like you really need to be in the moment. If you find yourself suddenly doing it better than ever before, and you take one millisecond to notice that you're actually doing it better, "Whoosh," you fall out of it. The mere recognition of it is enough of a distraction to lose it. I find that to be true only of this one pose. There are no others that have that element for me. Maybe Balancing Stick is a close second. I also find that, in Standing Bow, I am quite sensitive to falling out of the pose when others fall out of the pose around me. Those tiny distractions that pull my attention to the left or to the right are enough to fall out. That makes it a very interesting pose. Another thing I find interesting about Standing Bow is that, when I know that there are only 10 seconds left, 5 seconds left, suddenly I am able to go much deeper and occasionally get my foot way up over my head. It's again got to do with concentration. There should be no reason why the middle 10 seconds of a one minute pose would not be just as good of an opportunity to go deeper. But there's this psychological aspect of knowing that you only have a few seconds left. The moment. The golden moment. If every second of a 60 second pose were just one second, instead of the 10th second or the 30th second, then we could find that stillness, and that balance, and that confidence just as well throughout the entire pose. It's something to work toward.

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