19 July, 2012

Bodies in motion

Today was Power Vinyasa with Kathy.

Felt strong again today. Only took about 2 sips of water during the entire class. Am I less dehydrated? Or am I just telling myself a different message before and during class? I had this whole theory about Diane's class, yesterday, that I felt great because I drank like 8 gallons of mango juice. But somehow I don't think that's the difference. I talked about showing up with the intention of having a "good day." And I've talked here, and in my other blog about the huge gap between perception and reality (or, alternatively, about how our perception defines our own reality, and there's little distinction between the two, from our perspective). More than one time, I have looked around the room during or after class, or talked with fellow yogis, and had both agreement and disagreement about what kind of class it was. Was it a hard class? Was it an easy class? Was it too hot? Not hot enough?

Is hot yoga some genius therapy technique designed to teach us that we have complete control over only one thing: how we choose to experience what life brings?

Kathy's class is deemed by most to be one of the hardest classes there is. Though, for some time now, I have been finding her to be less difficult than a number of other teachers. I'd better be careful what I say here, or she'll make sure to set me straight in one of these upcoming classes. But there are a few reasons why (I tell myself) that her classes are not that hard for me. First, what she focuses on tends to be what I am strong at doing. A typical Kathy class has us spending quite a large amount of time in a horizontal position, in some variation of a High Plank. It just happens that this is less exhausting for me than holding Crescent Lunge or Prayer Twists for 3 minutes each. It's not that she doesn't do these poses. But there's a substantial chunk of the class that is spent in Planks, leaving less time for the legs. Of course, is it really that it's easier? Or do I tell myself "This class is going to be easier for me." If I could somehow tell me that Odessa's 90 minute class is "what I'm good at," would that one suddenly become a cakewalk as well? Another reason why Kathy's class tends to be easier for me is because she's got pretty much the best timing to her Vinyasa flow of any instructor at Urban. It's deliberate, with very distinct pauses at each step. There are two important things she does in the middle of her flow. First, she has an explicit call for "High Plank," which gives us time to really set up the start of the horizontal position. Second, she's got enough of a pause after High Plank, before calling for Chaturanga, that there's an opportunity to go down with good form. Often, Vinyasa flows go straight from calling the Halfway Lift to calling Chaturanga. Everything in-between is "implied" but not explicitly stated. We all know there are these intermediate steps, and we do them, but when it gets blurred together in the instruction, there's some tendency for our mind and body to also blur the transitions. It can also be easy to start falling behind the flow.

My lesson has been to try to go at my own pace, and not worry about falling behind. But that does put a little burden on me during class that goes beyond the fundamental elements of the class. I suppose it's a good lesson. But "being okay" in the mind takes some energy, at least for a beginner like me. Kathy's deliberate teaching style (I think) relieves that burden for me, and makes me feel more at ease.

I did Wheel today for the first time in at least a month. My shoulder has been feeling almost entirely better, for reasons that elude me slightly. Probably due to not doing any Chaturangas at all for a few weeks there. Anyway, I decided to "test" the shoulder today. If it hurts, back off. If not, still be careful. And surprisingly, it was completely pain-free. Nonetheless, I'm not going to push it. If it's barely better, that means it's almost hurt. Important to remember that.

Is it possible to have an effect on the number of "good days" merely by talking about it?

No comments:

Post a Comment