18 August, 2012

All you need is sleep

Last night was Power Vinyasa with Cassandra.

All day, I was trying to decide which class I would take. Bret Hatha? Or Cassandra Vinyasa? Normally, it's a pretty easy, snap decision for me. But this time I was waffling on it. I left work with the intention of taking Bret's class. But then, I realized I forgot the key to my locker, and needed to go back up to the office to get it. For a moment, I thought "Screw the key, I'll just ask them to cut off the lock." But then, I thought "Maybe this is a sign that I'm supposed to take Cassandra's class," which starts 15 minutes later. So I went with that, and walked back to my office to get the key. Turns out, I still arrived in time to take either class. But, at this point, I figured, if I am going to subscribe to the notion that magical forces in the universe are conspiring to determine which yoga instructor I should take, then I had better at least heed these extremely non-busy deities who dabble in such things.

Cassandra was excited about her new watch today. Apparently, having a digital watch with milliseconds on it makes her want to have people do Plank holds. Who knew? So, today, we did Plank holds. Only two of them, for 1 minute each (and I'm pretty sure the second one was only 40 seconds... maybe her watch was broken). I am told the previous class did three Plank holds, so it pays to be late, I guess. We also did 1 minute Warrior II holds. That's not as big of a deal as you'd think. We never really pay attention to time during such poses, but I would say it's pretty standard for the first Warrior I and II of a class to be a full minute.

I felt weak today. Tired. Heavy. Normally, High Plank feels almost weightless to me. Today, it felt like gravity was 98 m/s^2 instead of 9.8 m/s^2. Like I was doing hot yoga on Jupiter. Except, I am pretty sure it is not 105 degrees on Jupiter. Maybe 105 degrees Kelvin*.

Cassandra talked about "transitions" today at the start of class. And I felt a lot of very strong emotions around the topic. She was talking about paying attention not only to the poses, but to the transitions between poses. To be as mindful and present through these transitions as the pose itself. And she alluded to the transitions in our lives, and how she felt like many of us seem to be in a period of transition right now.

It's interesting, because I think in some ways, everyone who is practicing, whether it be yoga or meditation, is constantly in some process of transition or transformation.

But I thought a lot about my transitions. Have they been graceful? In life? Do I flow with grace? I think about how I treat others, how I get my needs met, how I initiate change in my life. Am I mindful? One thing I think I have been starting to learn, in no small part through yoga, is to act with intention. To be clear and decisive. I still am a "thinker" and that's probably not going to change entirely. I still analyze everything. But I am learning the value of doing that quietly rather than creating a big drama show. This is starting to spin into a topic that belongs in my other blog. So I'll save it for there.

I've been tired for a couple of days now, and I've been doing Vinyasa every day for as far back as I can remember. Not even sure when the last Hatha class was. Probably a week ago. My knees have been hurting a lot lately. And for the last two days, my shoulder has started hurting again, even though I had not been feeling any pain in it for over a week. Normally, the knee pain would be something I'd associate with weather, being that I assume it's arthritis. It tends to be worse when it's colder or wetter. Yes, I am getting old. But it was hot and dry, and I was feeling so much pain in both knees that I have been holding railings to assist myself going up and down flights of stairs. That bad, yes.

But today, something new occurred to me. My joints seem to hurt more when I don't get enough sleep. I only have a few data points to support it, but it makes sense. And I don't think it's inconsistent with the diagnosis of arthritis. If I am suffering from inflammation, then sleeping is a critical time where my body is (hopefully) working on repairing things. Interestingly enough, after sleeping for ten hours last night, which I rarely ever do, my body feels much better today. Of course, I also took a shitload of ibuprofen in the last 24 hours so it's hard to say for sure.

Okay, enough about me.

*For your reference, 77 Kelvin is the temperature of liquid nitrogen. So 105 Kelvin would be just about right for Jupiter. In fact, the internets tell me that Jupiter's surface is around 165 Kelvin, so I wasn't far off.

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