04 February, 2012

Everything but the wheel

Last night was Power Vinyasa with Cassandra.

I know that I said I was going to try to avoid settling into "favorites," but I have to admit, it's difficult to not take a Cassandra class when I see she's on the schedule.

Today's class was another relatively struggle-free experience for me. There were some super-difficult parts of the class. In particular, a series of Dolphin Planks that involved raising one arm, then the other, for an interminably long "10 count." The "surprise" in the class was that, after we'd gone to the floor, imagining that the hard part was over, Cassandra called us back up, saying "Let's get the heart rate going one more time!" I remember, only a month ago, I would have gasped, and probably moaned or cursed her under my breath. Now, I just smile. And, this finale was not just a fleeting moment on our feet; it was a full-on sequence of Crescent Lunge, pulsing our back knee to the floor, interspersed with Airplane pose (I should start calling these poses by their real names, but I'd have to learn them all - what is it? Dekasana? See, I do know that one. But don't ask me to tell you what Crescent Lunge is called!)

Once I started "surrendering" to whatever comes in class, whether it be heat, humidity, difficult sequences, not being able to hear the instructor, hating the music, having stinging sweat dripping in my eyes, boredom, distraction, feeling like I am not doing things right... it has become a little easier. 

I am still intrigued that, almost every day, I still come up against some sort of little barrier. Even though last night's class was, on the whole, a pleasure, I found myself becoming so incredibly impatient during the final Savasana. I wasn't really thinking about running out of the room screaming, but there was this voice, a tension in my mind saying "Alright! Alright, already. It's enough. Just tell us to bring our damn hands to heart center, say our 'Namaste', and get out of here." 

Why? I mean, Savasana is just a peaceful, relaxing, E-A-S-Y pose. You don't need to do anything except just lie there and be still. After all that work, and sweating, and struggle (the "chaos") why should stillness be anything other than a welcome reward?

And that's where I feel that the yoga practice so perfectly mirrors the challenges we face in our day-to-day lives. Sometimes there is chaos around us, and we need to just stay calm, and focused, and do what it is that we are setting out to do. Not fighting the chaos, not controlling it, but accepting it. And then, other times, when there is calm, we have to resist that urge to create drama, when there is none. For some reason, our minds want to always have a problem to solve. And Savasana is a problem-free pose. No chaos. The only thing to do is be still. And, interestingly, that's even harder for me than remaining calm in chaos. A metaphor for my own life? Most definitely, yes.

Final notes: I have now "officially" done Side Crow on the mat. It's a little harder to do it, after being completely wiped from half a class, but I still pulled it off. The best part of this, is that now I don't need to spend 60 seconds in Twisted Chair with arms extended wide. Also, Warrior II was somehow a little more smooth than usual. I found I was able to get the knee aligned better, and keeping my arms up was not creating such a burning feeling. No idea why, except maybe that I had a day off Thursday? I skipped Wheel and did Bridge instead, because I suspect that my strained lat muscle (which didn't bother me at all) might have been related to overdoing it on Wheel the other day. Don't want to take any chances.

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