02 July, 2012

Bliss Part 2: Patrick

Tonight continued with Patrick's new Yin class, which will now be a regular Monday event.

I went into the class today joking with Patrick that I was back for "the hair of the dog that bit me," but somehow I knew that today would be different. I was already starting out in a euphoric state. My body was not the least bit fatigued from Jo's class.

I talked in the previous post about how I wanted to understand what made today different. It's all speculation, of course, but I suspect that my attitude played a large role. I showed up today to overcome. I came right at my fears. I don't want to be afraid. I want to go within. So my whole mindset was around having a positive experience.

And I did.

One big change today was that I generously employed a block to help with creating space to move. Another thing was that I was determined to listen and observe my body nonjudgmentally instead of getting mad at what it can or can't do. This came into play in the first pose, Hero's Pose, which I have a great deal of trouble with due to knee pain. There would be many days where my mind would immediately have gone to "God! I cannot even do the first freaking pose! What's wrong with me?!" But not today. Instead I patiently kept adjusting my position, staying emotionally neutral, until I found something that worked. And then, that pose ended and another began. New experience. Clean slate.

I found myself surprised a few times today. In some of our cross-legged forward folds, my chest was draped over my legs with my forearms flat in front of me. I didn't even realize I'd gone that far, and I am not sure I have ever been in that position. But I got there by breathing and listening to Patrick's calming guidance. He mixes instruction, philosophy, science, and plain-old coaching. More than any other teacher, I find that his stream of words (and he is a talker) is lulling, meditative. It is never a distraction.

At the end of class, we were doing a pose involving long slow breaths to whatever count we wanted. I remembered Patrick saying in the previous class that if we took a long pause at the end of an exhale, we could really experience the stillness that is possible. Yesterday, I only experienced panic, and short breaths, and disappointment with myself. Today, I found that at the end of an exhale, I could pause and begin counting silently... One one thousand... Two one thousand... Three one thousand... And I am going and going, empty lungs, at Twenty... Twenty five... Until finally I took a breath only because it seemed like the right thing to do.

And there was stillness.

I felt like I was floating in a hang glider above the earth. Peaceful. Present. So amazingly calm and still. My brain was probably on some strange pattern of activity. It was amazing.

When class ended, I didn't want to leave the room. I sat with Patrick and a couple of students who were practicing headstands. I just absorbed the experience I'd just had.

Stillness is possible.

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