25 July, 2012

Limp noodles and perfect salads

Today was Power Vinyasa with Carley at Be Luminous.

I'm not sure if it was just the day, just the teacher, just my body, just my mindset, or a magical coalescence of all the forces of the universe, but I think today was the best yoga class I have ever taken.

It was my first class with Carley, and everything just felt right. Everything just sounded right. Just. Right.

The series was really not a lot different from the past two days. And it was really not a lot different from most of the classes I've taken at other studios. But the energy, the timing, the guidance and adjustments, the words of encouragement, were all spot-on for what I needed today.

Carley is big on metaphors. Maybe that's why I loved it so much, since I am one big walking metaphor. When we were in Triangle pose, she was slowly, deliberately, itemizing the steps to this pose. The tiny adjustments, the miniscule things to be aware of, all the subtleties. But her guidance was not a mental overload. It was like sprinkling ingredients, one by one, in a perfectly-timed sequence, just as you're ready to receive them. And then she talked about how simple it is. That was really a big theme of her instruction... the simplicity of it. Keeping it simple. We were all in our totally optimized, totally adjusted Triangle, with sweat pouring off our bodies, and then Carley said "It's sort of like a salad with only two ingredients... so simple... and yet, somehow, so perfect."

Another metaphor: as we finished our standing series, and finally came to face-down on the mats, she told us to let it all go, and let our bodies collapse and go soft, like "way-overcooked noodles." Perfect.

The past few weeks, I have been experiencing a lot of difficulty with Crescent Lunge. I have somehow lost the ability to feel comfortable in this pose. Today, Carley broke it down for me. In the lunge, feet are at hip-width distance. That was problem number one. I have been lining my feet in a straight line, and it was getting me all torqued out, with no way of getting my legs or hips comfortable, with no stable balance point. Then, after I got my legs right, one piece at a time, she had me adjust my back knee, rotate my hips, suck in my belly and firm it up, and then allow my shoulders to relax down. Suddenly I felt much more like I was doing Crescent Lunge, instead of an impossible and uncomfortable contortion. Not sure why I forgot how to do it, but it was neat to get it back just like that.

The energy she created really made me want to find my edge. And I really got a lot out of my body today. Even from the most unlikely of poses: Gorilla Pose! What adjustments could one possibly make in that pose? Well, really step on your fingers, and wrists. Then, really bring your weight forward. Suddenly, I found myself falling forward, and unable to break my fall, because my feet were on my hands!! I laughed as I fell sprawling on the floor, and Carley pointed out that I've found my edge.

The best part about no music in a class, and one of the aspects I really like at Be Luminous, is that I can hear everyone's breath. I can hear my own breath, fully. And I can hear the breath from far away, in the opposite corner of the room. I can hear people who are out of breath. I can hear the thud of a foot hitting the floor as we float forward. I can hear someone fall. I can hear my sweat drip onto the mat. I feel like the silence makes me more present, more aware of what it is we're all doing together.

Today was a good day.

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