08 June, 2012

Letting go of the tightness

Today was Power Vinyasa in Walla Walla with Jo.

At the end of class today, Jo talked about how the tightness we have in our bodies might reflect tightness with how we interact in our lives. Where are we holding that tightness? How are we displaying that tightness? For some reason, this hit me on a very deep level. I feel so tight. All the time. My shoulders, my back, my legs. I feel like, as I used to always say, but I know is a fallacy, "I'm too tight to stretch." In much the same manner, I spent years of my life proclaiming that I was "too tight to do yoga." I hadn't even tried yoga, but I "knew" I was too tight to do it. Flip that around, and the real message was "My mind is too tight, too closed, to try to do yoga."

Here I am, though. And I am finally doing yoga. I am still tight. And still feeling distress over the fact that my body doesn't move the way I want it to move, without pain.

Lesson #1: Show up. Okay, I think I'm getting somewhere with that one.

Lesson #2: Be patient with myself (and with others). The work, for me, is there. And interestingly, I think this has always been the case. In one way or another, I have always "shown up" in my life, in whatever I did. I was never a slacker, or a deadbeat. But I often have not had patience with myself to make progress, or patience with others.

Today's collective intention, and my individual intention, not surprisingly, was "connection." We are here because of our practice, and because of this community of people who have connected around Urban Yoga Spa. For some reason, the actual arrival on the mat brought about strong emotions in me. That saying... "Wherever you go, there you are..." We all went, and yet, we still are. And Jo, appropriately called that out today. She commented on how all of these bodies are familiar, but we've moved it to a new location. Urban Yoga Spa is the community of people who fill each class.

In truth, I actually had three intentions that flew through my mind at the start of class today:  Joy, Connection, and Feeling.

I have always longed to feel connected, and that's not a new one. But this intention on "joy" is something new, and vaguely foreign to me. I don't know that I've ever consciously sought "joy" perhaps because I didn't think I really deserve it. I am still sometimes not sure. But I'm trying to run with it, and see how it goes. And that last one... feeling... Being able to have those emotions that are under the surface is something that I have always danced around. Like a kid who wants to go in the ocean to swim, but keeps on getting their feet wet and then running back to the safer sands, away from that big ocean. I don't really know what would happen if I just dove in, and experienced it without hesitation or guard.

Class was spectacularly and perfectly challenging. To compensate for a game-time temperature of around 78 degrees, we did the whole nine yards of power vinyasa. As I mentioned in Port Townsend, I really enjoy knowing that the heat and the sweat is actually coming 100% from the movement of my muscles. I like knowing the precise sequences where my body is working hardest. I do indeed like air to not be a factor. But I also know that a big part of "The Work" in the regular hot yoga studio is about being with that discomfort.

For some reason, I really wanted to go all out today. First day of the retreat, I maybe should have been saving energy, but inside, my body was just saying "Go, go go!!" So, I went for it on all the Side Planks, with care, and actually fared quite well.

I tell myself that I'll take it easier tomorrow.

But we'll see about that.

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