11 February, 2012

The longest 90 minutes of my entire life

Today was Hatha with Colette.

I should acknowledge that I am exaggerating in the title of this blog. I am sure that, if I think hard enough over my entire life, I could identify a period of 90 minutes that was longer than this morning's class. But none immediately comes to mind.

I think there's something about knowing that it is going to be a 90 minute class. I have started setting an expectation, particularly after the experiences with the Bikram classes in Hawaii, that 90 minutes is going to be grueling, excruciating, torturous, never-ending, abysmal, nightmarish, intolerable, agonizing, boring, interminable...

You get the picture, right?

So, this morning, on the drive to the class, I had some of these adjectives bouncing around in my head. I have to believe that "expectations" are not a whole lot different from "intentions" and if one spends enough time fixating on expectations, they will, in fact, become intentions. I am reminded of a saying I once heard: "Where you look is where you go." And it it was certainly true today.

The class pretty much followed a Bikram sequence, if you remove the introductory breathing and replace with Low Lunge, and remove Triangle, and replace it (later in the sequence) with Pigeon. Otherwise, it was essentially a Bikram class. Two sets of everything, damn hot, and me stuck in my head!

The beginning of class felt pretty good, but I could tell that the heat might be a factor early. By the time we got to Extended Side Angle, I was already beginning to think about how much was left in the class. Not a good place to be. It's weird, because I have been setting my intention, quite clearly, for the last few days, on "Be Here Now." But today was just a struggle. I tried to keep reminding myself to be here. But I wanted to be anywhere but here, anywhere but now. It's curious as to why that might be...

By the time we made it to the floor, I was doing the forward thinking. Every posture we did, I was thinking "Is she really gonna make us do two sets of this one?" And, of course, the answer was "Yes!" Again, not sure why the struggle. And I know it was a mental struggle, not a physical one, because I was actually finding Savasana to be even more grueling than the non-resting poses.

There came a point where I had to reset my intention on something more modest, given today's struggles. So, I'm not doing a great job today, of being here, now. Instead, let's just stay here, no matter what. The urge to run screaming from the room, the urge to keep sipping water as some sort of soothing reward after every pose, the urge to fidget in rest, it's okay. Doing the best I can today. But just stay here.

It was interesting, when I was in final Savasana, I just couldn't lie still. I knew that I should. But I simply could not. I knew what it meant. I knew that I was "creating drama." I knew that it's just my mind trying to take control of the situation. I knew that there's an intelligence behind the mind that can see right through it (remembering all of Cassandra's words of encouragement). And I still did not stay still. I didn't beat myself up over it. I didn't judge myself. I am not angry at myself for not being more still. But it is continually intriguing to me that we can become aware, and still struggle.

My mind started spinning off into thinking about the work I wanted to do today, which triggered thoughts about how unbearable that was going to be ("if you allow yourself to experience drama on the mat, you will allow yourself to experience drama off the mat"... more Cassandra).

Sweated more than usual, by a rather wide margin.

Weighed myself when I got home from class. It's rather shocking, actually. Before, during, and after class, I consumed a total of about 2.8 liters of water. That's 2.8 kilograms, if you know your conversions. And if you know the rest of your conversions, you know that is about 6.2 pounds. So, in theory, I added 6.2 pounds of water to my body. And after class, I weighed 2 pounds less than before class. I'm no genius, but I'm pretty sure that means that I dropped about 8 pounds of water weight during the class today. That's about 4 liters, which is about 1 gallon. I don't even understand how sweat glands can be that active. Right?

As for the actual poses, today wasn't all that bad. I did a little better in the standing balance series than I did for most of last week.

So... there are a few lessons today.

1. Any day can be a good day or a bad day, and you just never know what you're going to get
2. If you set too many expectations, you will make it really hard to "just be" - self-fulling prophecies abound
3. Do not underestimate how much you need to hydrate before and after class

So, I guess it was a good class. I'm alive. I'm still drinking water. And (to use one more quote from Cassandra) if "the real work begins when you want it to end," then I guess today was a really good class.

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