30 April, 2012

Deserving love

Today was Power Vinyasa with Jo.

Tonight, for some reason, the thoughts that came to mind when setting intention all related to thinking about love, and people I care about who deserve love. Of course, everyone deserves love, but my mind went specifically to people dear to me, some close and some less close. It was just a strong feeling of hopefulness.

Class tonight was really, really good. It's been a long time since I have done Jo's Vinyasa class, so I found it to be welcome variety that the sequences were quite different from many of the classes I have taken lately. Again I felt strong and pain free, continuing to modify the Chaturanga (and not feeling like a sissy for doing so). Getting over that egotism is huge because it's letting me start to feel good during and after class. Big difference.

Because the shoulder feels better, it is tempting to start doing the regular poses again. But it's not time yet. Need to be patient.

In this for the long run, remember?

29 April, 2012

A different view

Today was Hatha with Diane.

I saw a new friend in class today, and decided to place my mat in a different location where I would not typically position myself. A different view. A different perspective. A different feeling.

The majority of today's class was beautiful. The energy was in the room. I could feel the collective breath during the opening salutations. A sense of unison. A sense of togetherness. Shared purpose. Rested and ready. In most of my poses I felt strength, though I did find myself quite wobbly on the first pose of the balance series. But beyond that, the Dancer's Pose felt strong, and then the Side Angle series felt super-strong.

Near the end of class, things got insanely hot. Diane even remarked that we were in the hottest part of the entire room. It was only a few minutes near the end, and I was able to keep physically still, but my mind started to drift off to the side. Funny, when I lose the moment, I usually start thinking about work. I wonder why that is?

I would like to think that yoga is helping me to see what's true, and act from the heart.

28 April, 2012

Remaining humble

Today was 90 minutes of Power Vinyasa with Odessa.

Since yesterday went so well, I decided to try again with the modifications. Odessa's classes are tough, and this was no exception. Even with modifications on all of the Chaturanga series, and knee down on Side Planks, I was still a bit tired today, likely because of having taken the class last night. It is always a little harder doing a night class followed by a morning class. But I did what I had to do to not feel pain. I positioned myself by the door (after braving the front row in Kathy's class the other day, I decided I'd give myself a break from the heat this time).

Although the sequences themselves were very tough, I felt myself smiling and feeling happy. It only hurts for those few moments, while sustaining a tough pose. And the rest always comes. We focus so much on the that "the work is always coming," but the reality is that the rest, too, is always coming. You just need to allow yourself to enjoy it when it does.

After class today, I was approached by a couple of fellow yogis who asked me about carpooling to the retreat. They're people to whom I've mostly just said hello, in the past. But here was a first connection; an opportunity to deepen that community that is budding. The seeds were planted. The earth was watered. And things are starting to grow. I don't know if they'll be flowers, strawberries, or oak trees.

But I know that something good is coming.


27 April, 2012

All chaos is perceived

Really... whose class could it be if that's the title of this blog (and the "quote of the day")? Do I even need to tell you?

Today was Power Vinyasa with... Cassandra, of course.

Twenty-four hours and 2400mg of ibuprofen later, and my shoulder feels better than perfect. I feel like I must be Steve Austin (the Bionic Man, not the wrestler). Yesterday, I thought I was coming apart in bad ways. Today, I felt like I was floating on Cloud Nine.

When I walked in the door to UYS today, I informed Cassandra of her "marching orders": if she saw me doing Upward Dog, she was specifically instructed to step on my back and drop me to the floor. Today would be the day where I humbly, shamelessly, ... , fearlessly took every modification in the book, so as to ensure that yoga felt good. She held me to it. And I held myself to it. Other than Upward Dog, I also dropped the knees on Chaturanga, and kept one knee down during all variants of Side Plank. That is all it took. No pain, all gain.

And the best part of it is that I let it happen.

As always, Cassandra's class was great. Collective intention: "forgiveness... of self or others."

Of late, her classes have been very difficult. In fact, I would say they're almost on par with Kathy's classes, though Cassandra is considerably more merciful with the heat. We did a Crescent Lunge series that was almost identical to what we did in Monday's noon class. Interestingly, on Monday, I was almost unable to do the series. I spent most of it with my back knee down. Some of it, I spent struggling to recover from fatigue. And in some of the twisted poses from that series, I was too tired to extend my top arm to the ceiling. Today, the exact same series was not easy, but it was possible. I was able to do it without struggling.

This difference from day-to-day is intriguing and somewhat perplexing. I am amazed how different my body is in each class.

Cassandra had some really apropos messages today. One of her messages was to approach every pose as if it's the first time we have ever done it because, in reality, even if this our 100th Warrior I pose, it is the first and only time that we will ever do that Warrior I, and it could very well be entirely different than any we have ever done before.

Come to the pose fresh. Come to the mat fresh.

Come to life fresh.

Thanks, as always, Cassandra.

26 April, 2012

Fearless and stupid

Today was Power Vinyasa with Kathy.

Before class began, my knee hurt and my shoulder hurt. In fact, my shoulder hurt a lot. So, I decided it would be a good idea to go right up front under the heaters in Kathy's class, and push myself to the limit. Modifications? Hardly? On a couple of the poses, I started off in a modification, but then unmodified into the full pose. The shoulder hurt during class. And after class, the shoulder was undoubtedly the worst it has been in months, or possibly longer.

I guess I get bragging rights for enduring? But I'm not sure that's "yoga." In fact, yoga is the opposite. It's listening to the body and being kind, rather than hearing the body and saying "tough shit."

I'm not really sure what I got out of it other than that. It's not that I wish I didn't go. I am glad I did. And I don't even feel bad about it. But what would be so wrong with trying my best to let it feel good,  at any expense of "pride" or whatever egotistical term comes to mind.

Tonight, it's ibuprofen. Tomorrow, it will be compassion.


24 April, 2012

Crouching Eagle, Wounded Knee

Today was Hatha with Jo.

Today was exactly what I needed. Thank you, universe. Thank you, Jo.

Class started off lukewarm and ended roasting. But it didn't matter. I felt so good and so "right there" -- exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I'd hoped for a turnaround in my body status and didn't have to wait long. I think it's a positive self-fulfilling prophecy. It goes both ways.

I found peace and quiet in the poses. Leaving work today, I had a little bit of self-judgment going on because of a minor mistake I had made at work. I felt that little mistake kindling fear around work in general. It didn't need to be that way. It doesn't need to be that way. The drama that follows the actual "what is" of life.

Lessons learned from yoga? Parallels? Remembering struggling in a brutal sequence in Odessa's class where I couldn't keep it together in Standing Splits. Had to rest. Started to spiral and get overwhelmed by heat. Then listened to my body and realized that the moment of true struggle had already passed. The struggle now was synthesized in my mind. Drama. I tried letting it pass. And sure enough, it did.

Apply that at work? Result is no spiraling. Recover. Resolve. Correct. Move on.

Today's intention: Forgiving Self

What more can I say?

Another revelation today: the knee pain is undoubtedly coming from Eagle pose. I have been forcing the wrapping of my right foot and it's hyperextending my knee. Today it was obvious. I am confident that laying off this will resolve the problem.

23 April, 2012

Okay I am ready to magically feel good again

Today was Power Vinyasa with Cassandra.

I took the noon class. It was a planned and much needed escape from a busy day at work. Great to be on the mat in Cassandra's class again. Not so great to be absolutely hurting and dragging. Okay, that's a bit of a dramatic exaggeration. But some truth to it. I felt so weak in my shoulders and legs. The Crescent Lunge series that she's been doing the last few classes is always hard, but today, I just felt like my legs were giving out so quickly. The Warrior II poses and Side Angles had my shoulders feeling like they just couldn't hold my arms up.

I am not sure what the root cause is. Am I worn out from slight sleep deprivation? Am I rusty from taking four days off? Am I under stress at work, and it's causing my mind to be getting in the way more than usual? I suppose all are possible, but who knows.

Today was a very emotional class for some reason. There was a lot right under the surface. When Cassandra said "Rest... because the work is always coming..." I nearly started shaking on the mat, feeling very strong emotions. I guess I fear that work will always be coming, and that it might get to be too much. Right now it isn't too much, and I do try my hardest to manage work. But I also want to do a good job and do what's expected, or more. So the idea that work is always coming just felt a bit scary on this particular day.

After class, I was talking with a fellow yogi, and mentioning that every time I get into a stretch like this where everything is dragging, there will inevitably come a day where, for no particular reason, I suddenly feel great.

Let that day be tomorrow.

22 April, 2012

What happened to balance

Today was Hatha with Diane.

This was the longest break I have taken in months. Four days off, while visiting Chicago. I thought that I might do yoga in the hotel room, or find a spa in the city. But I decided it would be better to just give the body the rest. But I return still hurting. The knee hyperextension feels sore. The shoulder that I keep sleeping on wrong feels sore. Doing the best I can to not make things worse.

Today, after not getting enough sleep, I was weak. Especially in my balance poses. It was not too hot, but I had a hard time even standing on one foot, and some poses like Tree and Eagle, which are normally a breeze, were a struggle.

It's interesting. I am not sure if the wobbly nature is due to missing days, or due to being tired.

It was good to be back in the studio again, though, and we'll see what tomorrow brings.

17 April, 2012

OMG

Today was Power Vinyasa, 75 minutes, with Cassandra who was substituting for Kathy, and doing a superb job of channeling her intensity.

My legs were completely toasted with deep lunges and Warrior poses, Twists, Half Moons, Standing Splits. It went on and on. I am really not sure what the precise line is between the mind "giving in" versus the body. There have only been one or two classes where I have experienced clear muscle failure. But today danced near that threshold.

In honor of Kathy, of course, we did a triple series of Dolphin Plank, with variations. There were also pushups, and lots of variations on Side Planks. I guess Cassandra spent some time planning this one!

I had to face that feeling of choosing to rest or take modifications. I could hear the quiet judge. The small disappointment that I was not sticking with every pose. But it didn't linger. I had placed myself next to a woman whom I know to be a very advanced yogi. She's amazingly flexible, can do all sort of inversions and balances. And I couldn't help but notice that she needed some rests too. I know it's not a contest or comparison. But it does help to see that it's okay to rest. I guess I am wanting validation through shared experience.

One thing I am getting much better at is immediately going into rest without drama, and immediately coming out of rest without drama. It feels good to start "letting go" right away.

Yesterday, Cassandra did this amazing little guidance of being in the moment. She was talking to us during final Savasana, and she told us to focus on nothing but "this breath... (pause)... and this breath... (pause)... and this breath." It seems so simple, but those words and the connection to the physical breath were almost like a meditation.

The moment is always here, and yet it can still be so elusive.

I am grateful that I am occasionally finding it.


16 April, 2012

Tiny revelations

Today was the noon Power Vinyasa with Cassandra.

Ok, I'll admit it, and the numbers don't lie. I've got a tendency to seek out Cassandra's classes (if you look at how many entries are tagged with the label "Cassandra" you'll see that I have taken her classes about twice as often as any other instructor). I do want to expose myself to different teachers, and make sure that I am challenging myself in new ways, but sometimes you've just got to accept that if you really love chocolate chip ice cream, you should just order chocolate chip ice cream.

Right?

Today, I had to jump through some hoops and hurdles to make the noon class happen. It was partly because my evening schedule lent itself to trying to do yoga earlier in the day. But there was also that enticement of her noon class, combined with the fact that the morning at work had my mind desperately seeking some type of reset. And it was well worth it. The sequence was quite similar to a series she's been into for the last few classes. There's a couple of parts of this new sequence that are quite brutal!

Brutal Sequence #1:
Chair
Prayer Hands
Twisted Chair
Arms wide
Fold
Halfway Lift
Chair
Raise to tiptoes
Squat and take Crow
Malasana
Fold
Repeat on other side

Brutal Sequence #2:
Eagle
Mountain with arms raised
Extend leg forward
Transition to Airplane
Half Moon
Twisted Half Moon
Standing Splits!!
Fold
Repeat other side

To put it mildly, Cassandra wasn't fucking around today :)

So, about the "revelations" I mentioned. I have been asking the question repeatedly about why I didn't want to take a day off. I have been asking if it's obsession. I have been asking if it's addiction. All of this was judgment. Some of it stemmed from others questioning me. But a lot of negative thoughts swirled around it.

Today, during class, I realized that the reason I want to do this every day is not because I feel driven to "workout" seven days a week. It's not about exercise. It's about what it does to my mind. It's my fuel. My rejuvenation. My recovery. I have needed this practice so much, for so long; now that I am finally doing it, I want it every day.

It's true that I need to heed my body's requests for rest, but I don't need to subscribe to others' value judgment about "How much is enough?"

This is my practice.

Going deeper into the pose

On the mat/Off the mat.

This week I made the decision to go to a yoga retreat. That probably sounds more "yogi-like" than it actually is. Unlike a meditation retreat, where one would sit, silently, for days, the yoga retreat is more of a social, summery event, involving dining, wine, yoga, and one can only imagine what other festivities. So it's not so much a deepening of the practice as it is a deepening of my connection to yoga and its place in my life.

Going to a yoga retreat means extending the connection to the people beyond the edge of the mat, beyond the locker room, beyond the lobby. It's about letting people into my life. It's about saying that I am open, not just to the changes that have or will happen in me through showing up, but that I'm also open to changes that might result from relationships and community that go along with the studio.

Initially, I had a fair amount of hesitation about participating in a retreat, because I had to ask myself "What does it mean that I'm doing this?" I have always been very hesitant and cautious around "Defining Myself" (capitalization intended) by my actions. Throughout most of my life, I never really thought about being defined by my actions, but I think there was something ingrained in me that was inherently fearful about the implications of action. In the recent past few years, I have become not only aware of the notion of being defined by my actions, but I have become a full-fledged subscriber to the idea that we are fundamentally, and entirely defined by our actions. What we do is who we are. All the thinking in the world does not amount to more than just that: thinking. But the smallest of actions can mean everything.

So, it's with very conscious and deliberate choice -- intention -- that I step forward into this next new opportunity.

Yoga as community.

15 April, 2012

Farewell, Erin

Today was 75 minutes of Hatha with Erin.

It was the last 75 minutes of Hatha that we'll have with Erin at Urban Yoga Spa. I had no idea that she was going to be leaving, and it does make me a little sad, since I enjoyed her classes.

One of the things that I'll always remember about Erin is that she would always approach every single person whom she did not recognize, and introduce herself before class, and ask their names. And she would remember their names. I honestly don't know how someone can walk around a room with 15 or 20 new faces, and retain that much information. But Erin seemed to do it. I felt that this effort made a special connection with the class.

Another thing about Erin that was unique was that she taught using a very physically-oriented dialog. She did not speak much about the mind, or about philosophy of practice, or about any of her own experiences; the instruction came from a very specific series of guiding steps through breath, body alignment, metaphors for the desired physical experience in the poses. She did this in a manner that created inspiration and encouragement.

This, of course, is not to say that I don't love the styles of other instructors, who might talk a lot about thoughts in our practice, or share their own hearts as a way of connecting with the class; not at all. But it sets Erin aside as an instructor whom you really want to have in your weekly schedule along with the other classes, because of the contrast.

All that said, today's class was so humid I thought I was going to die! I seemed to be suffering more than the average person, based on glances around the room, so I suspect this was a function of my own mind, and where I was in my practice today. The poses felt great, and it was an enjoyable class, but the last half hour was a battle in my mind. Whenever I find myself feeling tortured during the floor portion of a Hatha class, I know it's got to be my mind. At that point, the intense work is over. The balancing poses are done. The heart rate really only elevates one more time, for Floor Bow, but I'm feeling like I cannot stand one more minute.

Today, Erin suggested that when we feel the struggle or challenge in a pose, to try to move toward the discomfort, rather than to retreat away from it. And, to do this, we use the breath. It's a noble intention, but difficult to execute, when the thought machine starts racing. Though I had my fifteen minutes of spiraling late in the class, I did manage to pull my mind back in with breath during Pigeon pose at the end of the class. Small victories. Tiny arrivals.

Wishing Erin the best. Her style will be missed.

14 April, 2012

Relax, relax, relax

Today was Vinyasa with Cassandra.

It was a beautiful day in Seattle. I won't kid myself that the rain is gone. But I will enjoy the sunshine while it is here. After soaking in several hours of it, and walking all over town, I arrived at my mat, once again, to the inspiring teaching of Cassandra. Before class, I asked if we could do some low back stretching. Yesterday's class focused a lot on back bends and, as such, my low back was a little sore. It's not like me to ask for what I want or what I need. And it's even harder to open my mouth and make a request that will color the experience of everyone around me. But I think that part of the work that I need to do is to ask.

So I did.

And it was an interesting and unusual class. We started off with a rather unique back series involving Reclined Butterfly and then some bends and twists. It was nice. The middle of class was similar to yesterday with a lot of Warrior, though today there was additional emphasis on Side Angle pose. My shoulder was feeling good enough that I tried Crow again. I did not realize until recently that Crow is balancing knees on elbows. Previously I'd had my triceps and elbows more on my inner thighs. The new learning has changed things. In some way I feel like I needed to step back a bit. But that's okay.

Today, my legs were tired. Probably from the last few days of Vinyasa. On several of my "float" forwards, I almost sprawled forward, losing my balance. That's never happened before. But it may be because I have been trying to really jump far, and concentrate on both feet landing side by side, since they usually don't.

As usual, Cassandra's words were inspiring. But you know that already, since I have been saying it for a while now.

Exactly where I am meant to be

Today was Vinyasa with Cassandra.

Sigh...

For several classes in a row now, I have been itching to ask Cassandra to read the poem she once read, "My Life in Five Chapters." But I had not asked.

Today, she began class saying she wanted to read us a poem. And I knew it would be that one. I felt myself melt into the mat. The moment has never felt so big.

It is one of those classes that defies words. Cassandra puts so much of herself into the teaching. You really feel like there's an exchange, almost a gift of energy.

Class was very mellow. There were some difficult parts but they were punctuated by her calming and inspiring words:

"You are exactly where you were meant to be... doing exactly what you were meant to be doing."

I know.

12 April, 2012

Rediscovering yes

Today was Power Vinyasa Basics with Odessa.

What can I say? Today was fantastic. The basics class is all about slowing it down. Today I was pretty stuck in my head when leaving work. Somehow, I landed on the mat, and Odessa's voice lulled me into the moment.

She told us that class today would focus on back bends, which are heart-opening poses. Gordy and Kathy talk about this type of heart-opening as "being a yes" as opposed to slouching, which would be "being a no".

This got me thinking a lot about how my posture has been improving and how much I love that feeling of Mountain Pose with shoulders back. I want to be a yes.

To some degree the injuries have been making me feel a little down at class, but it seems like I am emerging from it.

Today I felt special, for some reason. I like being a familiar face. I am once again feeling the sense of community and belonging. I like when the change in me is noticed. It makes me realize that it is really happening.

Here, there, and everywhere.

11 April, 2012

I want to believe

Today was Vinyasa with Kelley.

Refreshing, happy report that I finally had a class where I did not feel like I was dragging. And I finally had a day where nothing hurt. Perhaps my cold is passing. Or perhaps Naproxen works better than Ibuprofen.

Today, Kelley set collective intention of believing in something. I only had a vague sense what that might be for me. Fleeting thoughts. People. Friends. Cats. But I felt connected to the mat, and connected to my body.

The sequence today was tough, but somehow I stayed contained and feeling strong throughout class. The highlight was a modified Half Moon series that started from Reversed Warrior II and launched slowly forward into Half Moon with fingers off the ground. Revolving to Twisted Half Moon by passing through a brief Airplane. It's sometimes easier to stay with the tough stuff when it's interesting.

Class started with some challenging but brief abdominal work. And we ended with Wheel.

From start to finish there was just a good vibe. Good energy. Was it just me? Having a good day? Or was it an amazing class?

I will go with "both."

10 April, 2012

Check in with intention

Today was Vinyasa with Whitney.

It's been a while since I took her class. Today the repetitive story is once again about my shoulder. I won't belabor it. There is pain. Had to skip Crow pose because my attempt at it hurt too much. The transition through Chaturanga does not feel great. Lowering is rough. Going to Upward Dog is rough. I can keep those under control.

Okay. Enough about that.

Near beginning of class, Whitney made a metaphor about "tiny arrivals" referring to being present on the mat, in our practice. Somehow, this phrase triggered emotions in me. She also talked a lot about compassion, and set the collective intention for the class around the idea that "happiness is a choice." It got me thinking about how I have been getting sucked into some drama at work lately. I would not go so far as to say I am creating it. But I have been participating in it. I don't know how to skirt it completely because the existent drama impacts my productivity. But I don't know if I am finding the shortest, pain-free path around it.

The subject line around intention today was really more about the intention of this blog. I am finding it hard to find depth or revelation or even a story worth telling each day. I don't want to write something that is unreadable. But I also know that this is a story of practice. It was bound to be stretches of mundane punctuated by rare insights. And it's really supposed to be for me. But I can't help but get sidetracked on whether it's readable or interesting or valuable to anyone.

Cassandra's words come to mind (of course):

"The work begins when you want it to end..."

See you tomorrow.

09 April, 2012

The hot and the humid

Today was Hatha with Bret.

Spring is here. It's finally warm. All is good. All is clear. And, in the yoga studio, all is humid.

I took two days off this weekend for the first time since the end of February. It triggered momentary guilty feelings but I felt it was an important show of "inverse discipline": the discipline to not be overly disciplined.

The humidity was downright unpleasant today. Definitely mutual, collective discomfort going on. From what I gathered, the people in the other class fared no better. I have never been a member of a hot yoga studio during the warm months of the year, so I don't have a lot to go on. I do know that the Bikram studio in Kona was unbearable, understandably, since the baseline temperature was 80 degrees and humid, and then they're adding heat to that. What can you do, right?

In spite of the heat, I was glad to be getting back in the class after the two days off. I stayed very much in the conservative zone. Whereas I felt progress in several of my poses a few weeks ago, now I am slightly retracted back into the "just getting by" mode. It was a very standard Hatha class, with the usual small Bret modifications, offering up Vinyasa flows here and there. Today, I didn't take any of those offerings. I didn't even partake of the optional second set of Floor Bow. I just felt myself wanting to stay in the safe zone, not really feeling like there was air to breathe.

In addition to the shoulder that hasn't become any better (or worse), I also have a new issue with my right knee. It started off that it would only hurt when I stretched too far on things like individual leg stretching or Triangle pose, but now it's become bad enough that Child's Pose hurts, and Hero's Pose isn't even an option. Sometimes I wonder if I just have a body that breaks down easily, or if I am doing something wrong. There are some people who can do any activity they want, and their bodies recover just fine. I just seem to incur injury. It's been that way for a long time. I wish there were some kind of genetic test I could take that would say "Your body is just the kind that breaks down." It wouldn't solve anything, but it would make me feel a little less frustrated with the outcome.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

06 April, 2012

Authenticity

Today was Power Vinyasa with Cassandra.

You didn't think I'd miss Cassandra's Friday class, did you? I mean, seriously, right? So... after a few pretty horrible days of being sick, I was starting to feel like I was coming out of it today. Was not sure how that would translate to ability to do a Vinyasa class, but I knew that I could just do the best I can, and rest if necessary.

It turned out that I was feeling much better today. It was a tough class. The heat was rather mild, for most of the class. But there were some tough sequences in the middle of class. Some extended stays in Chair pose, with side-stepping while in the pose. Not easy to do even when I am at a hundred percent. I did the best I could. There was a bit of Dolphin Plank, though it wasn't labeled as such (Plank poses, lowering down to forearms, and then back up again... some would call that Dolphin Planks, raising up to straight arms... minor difference of nomenclature, but essentially the same deal).

Because of the nice Spring weather, it was a rare uncrowded Friday 5:30pm class. A nice change.

Today's "collective intention" was on "authenticity." As usual, Cassandra had gem-like words of inspiration, which really helped me through the class. She said that it's very difficult to define what it is to "be authentic" but that it is easy to know when you are not being authentic. That's an interesting concept.

She also repeated a great thought:  "Do you know how special you are? Never before, and never again will there be another you."

In those moments, on the mat, in her class, I feel special. And slowly, gradually, I find myself allowing that feeling to extend past the edge of the mat into the rest of my life.

It's a good feeling.



05 April, 2012

Continuing to fade

Today was Hatha with Colette.

The trend of low-energy titles continues. Again, I am playing catch-up on the blog, as I did not manage (due to illness) to keep up-to-date on my entries while they were happening.

I should not have been in yoga today. Still sick, and it would turn out that the most severe night of the entire illness would be tonight, following class. Ended up having fever, and feeling just about as horrible as I can remember feeling in the longest time. 

Yet I still made it to class. And, again, somehow, managed to do the entire class. I don't know if I impress myself, or if I am just out of my mind. Not really sure what the logic here was. There was some part of me that was hoping that it would make me feel better. I can't say it made me feel worse. But today, most of all the days, I felt the weakness and aching in the back muscles, and the fatigue in the shoulders. 

Still trying to decipher what is driving me to come under any circumstances. What is going on in my mind? I don't think I am going be about to figure it out.

Do not try this at home.

04 April, 2012

Sleepless in Seattle

Today was Hatha with Cassandra.

I have been sick since Saturday night. It seems to be getting worse. Feeling slightly weak. Took yesterday off. But, today's Cassandra and, rain or shine, well or ill, I apparently must show up. Very often, they say to us that the hardest part is just showing up. But I am starting to test that theory by showing up in progressively greater degree of physically compromised condition. I am only half-joking.

Not only am I sick, but I was awake all night last night. I did not sleep one minute. There were several reasons. One related to some anxiety about a big project at work, the other was probably being sick. A third factor was that, now that I'm increasingly convinced that my shoulder pain is coming from sleeping on my arm, I was self-conscious about how I was sleeping. These three factors had me laying awake all night.

You really might ask me why I'd take a hot yoga class after being sick, and awake for 36 hours. Fair question.

Before class, I informed Cassandra that I was feeling a bit off, and that I might be taking it easy. I am not sure it was necessary for me to do that, but the instructors often do ask the class if anyone is injured or has any special circumstances. I figured I would take advantage of that, and also perhaps psychologically give myself advance permission to take it easy if the class turned out to be not going well for me.

It turned out, I pretty much did the entire class without much difference from usual, at least in terms of my outward affect. On the inside, I was a little more conscious of not pushing limits. And I also was recognizing a leaden feeling in my arms, and a strained, fatigued feeling in my back muscles.

Taking the class didn't really seem to make me feel worse. It actually felt pretty good.

But, because I am writing this blog three days after the fact, I can foreshadow that things are eventually going to catch up with me if I continue like this.


03 April, 2012

Breaking

Last night was Hatha with Bret.

I was starting to feel sick. A cold or something. Wondering how good of an idea class would be. But determined to come anyway. For some reason my shoulder hurt more even though class didn't seem to affect it the other day. This mystery was solved last night. I realized that I am sleeping on my arm in a very awkward fashion and really wrenching it. Almost certain this is the exacerbating factor.

Today I made the ill-advised choice of situating in front of a heater. And it was scorchingly hot. Right from the start I struggled. After half an hour my concentration and will started to waver. And it became the old battle.

I looked to the woman next to me for validation and she indicated that she was hot too. For some reason I needed that validation. Is it me? Is it the room? What is it?

I made it through class with a dragging weak struggle, taking brief breaks and exiting some poses prematurely. I didn't feel bad about myself. But I felt frustration.

After class my physical state deteriorated rapidly. Weak. Tired. Joints aching. Felt feverish but was apparently not.

Today was a rest. And I seem not to be getting better. And I will need to figure out how to not sleep wrong. How do you not sleep wrong?

01 April, 2012

A whole lot of hips

Today was Power Vinyasa with Gordy.

I have not previously taken a 60 minute class with Gordy. Typically, his classes have been 75 minutes. But I guess he's filling in for Jo. In the shorter class, it turns out that Gordy's class is on the mild side for difficulty. Perhaps it was just the day, and next time it will be brutal?

Of course, I came in with a bit of trepidation because, as you are well-aware if you've read any of my other entries, I'm nursing a shoulder injury. I decided to go for it anyway and just be sure to skip any side planks. It turned out there were none.

My hips remain tight. I feel like it is a step back from where I was a month ago. But it may be my imagination. Maybe I feel tighter because I am going deeper into poses. I don't actually know. To me it just seems tight. It's also possible that my attempts to go deeper are making me more sore. There are so many possibilities and it is hard for me to gauge progress.

I really enjoyed today's class though. Music was quiet. Energy was calming. There are lots of ways for a class to be good. But it is especially satisfying when the overall experience is calming, quieting.

There were no Side Plank poses. Nothing that put torque on my shoulder. A good thing.