03 March, 2012

Intention to rest

Today was 90 minutes of Hatha with Colette.

As you've probably seen in my previous posts, I have a bit of a mental struggle with the 90 minute Hatha classes. I decided that I cannot avoid these, and cannot just resign myself to perpetual torture, either. So the plan is to desensitize myself, and destigmatize the 90 minute class, so that it becomes an enjoyable experience, maybe even a preferred experience. In fact, on Thursday evening, Colette was talking about how at least one class a week that we do should be 90 minutes, because it's important to have an opportunity to do two sets of every pose.


So I've committed myself to it.

Friday night I did not get a great night of sleep. For various reasons, I did not finally get to sleep until about 2am, so I knew that getting up for a 9am class was potentially going to be a challenge. I really needed rest. But I had committed, in my mind, to doing the class. And I don't want to set a pattern of breaking commitments to myself (though, as I write this entry, I am procrastinating writing a report for work that I've been promising myself I'd *just finish* for the past 3 weeks).

Because I did not want to walk into the room with any negative expectations or anxiety about the long class, I decided to arm myself with 2 entire liters of water, instead of the usual 1 liter. There have been one or two times where I have run out of water during a 90 minute class, and that is not a great place to be. I have been trying to (as Patrick once put it) "honor the practice" by only drinking water at the prescribed water break points. It doesn't always work that way, but I try to not begin taking water ad libitum until I am on the floor and, even then, only between certain poses. Having the extra water is like a psychological insurance policy, and it definitely helps. It turns out, I did drink 1.5 liters during the class.

The class was blissfully not too hot, though I sweated a ton anyway. When it came time to set my intention for the class, for some reason it came to me just like that:  "Rest."

How can that be? How can you set an intention on resting while doing a physical series of poses, in a hot room? Well, I wasn't exactly sure how, but I knew that what I needed was rest, and I decided in that moment that maybe it was possible to rest while practicing. What that meant for me was to find an ease in every pose. To not think about the poses as strenuous - even the challenging ones like Standing Bow or Balancing Stick - but to find an easy place where I am not fighting gravity, or fighting myself. To be rested by being peaceful.

Somehow it worked. The class breezed by. Before I knew it, we were on the floor, and before I knew it, we were done.

Some of my balance poses have been getting better again. Standing Bow, a little more stable. I am not sure why, but this pose seems to go in waves, over two-week periods, where I am sometimes very solid, and then completely wobbly again. Given that I've done a bit more Hatha lately, that might be part of the reason. I think the Vinyasa really makes my legs tired from the difficult leg poses, and it erodes my balance (in the short term, anyway). I have not been taking variations lately on the standing poses, Eagle or one-leg balancing (would be Standing Head-to-Knee, but I stay in Mountain, with one leg raised). I feel like, although I could try to do the variations, my standing leg has been shaky enough that I'd rather work on that becoming effortless, than constantly be trying to force the next step.

It's hard to know how much of the ease that I experienced today was due to the power of intention, versus the circumstances of the given day. You need a lot of data on such things to determine conclusively. But I shouldn't really worry about why it was as it was. It just was.

And I am glad for that.

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