12 August, 2012

Remembering my own words

Today was 75 minutes of Power Vinyasa with Gordy.

I decided to walk to yoga today. Only, when I left my house, I realized that it was not certain I would arrive on time, unless I really made good time. Even then, I would barely make it. So, I decided to run to yoga today. It's only two miles, and I am in shape. Should be a breeze. I haven't run in at least a year, but I was a runner for so many years of my life, I figured that I'd be fine. And I was. It's all downhill, and it felt amazing to be running again. Makes me wish I could do it regularly, but I know my body well enough (though it has changed some) that I suspect it would be a bad idea to try to take up running again.

I'd like to believe that running to class had no impact on my experience today, but maybe it did.

Someone mentioned to me recently that they were entertained with how I label classes as "Good Day" or "Bad Day." I feel like I should clarify a little bit. I was doing this to try to help myself keep track of trends in my practice, as they correlate with other things in my life. It wasn't necessarily something that I meant literally as "This is a good day" and "This is a bad day." The idea was more that a "Bad Day" is when I am spinning in my head, feeling struggle, fighting it all the way. A "Good Day" is a day where things are flowing smoothly or, at the very least, I handle the obstacles well.

Today I tried to position myself right in front of the door, which I think was a wise choice. But some logistical shuffling moved me deeper into the room, and I believe it impacted my practice today. I want to be tough, and "be a yes," but I also know my body, and I try to listen to it. I put myself in front of the door because I knew that 75 minutes of Gordy, after running might be a challenge.

Class was very tough. And it got very hot part of the way into class. The air became very dense, and I asked for a door opening a couple of times. Gordy accommodated the request, but the cool air doesn't really make it very far into the room when it's that hot, so I didn't experience much of a reprieve from the oppression until I'd already had my mental spin-out.

It's the same struggle. The heat gets to me, and my mind falters. Though, to be fair, I think my body was also faltering. I was seeing stars, dizzy, lightheaded, and feeling my balance going woozy. There were a few poses where I thought I could collapse. When we finally came to Gordy's infamous "late Flow" (the one additional long flow he often does deep into a class), I found myself unable to properly set in any of the poses. It was one of those W1 to W2 to Crescent Lunge to Airplane to W2 deals. And my body was just not cooperating. Not a single one of the poses felt stable or solid. And I just decided to shut it down and go easy from there onward. I did some sort of meek flow involving Low Lunges with stretching. And I had two encouraging fellow yogis on either side of me, whispering that I should jump back in to it. But I'd flipped the switch. The air wasn't getting any richer. I tried to restart the effort a couple of times, before accepting that I wasn't going with the flow, so to speak.

Did I let myself off the hook?

The inner dialog was "Why, exactly, is it physiologically or psychologically advantageous for us to be doing a very intense Vinyasa class at 15+ degrees above the temperature prescribed by Baron Baptiste, one of the foremost figures in this discipline?"

And I started obsessing on that question.

And what I'm curious about is whether I was "right" to give myself the rest, but then my internal coping mechanism is to get mad at the world for what rest my body demands. Or did I just flat-out give up, and let myself off the hook, and start making excuses?

I think there is a difference.

The more important detail, I think, and the one that is where "practice" resides, is that this dialog that fired up in my head was likely responsible for me being unwilling (or unable) to jump back in again at some later point and give as much "all" as I had left to give. I half-assed my way through Bridge Pose. Skipped the Wheels altogether. I even half-assed my way through Supine Twist, which is practically like weaseling out of nap time. And all of that was not because I was spent, which may have been true for the big flow that I skipped.

It was because my mind left the mat.

There's no doubt that these huge dragons are raising their heads because of the high temperatures in the room. I am certain that I would not be experiencing the same kind of struggle at 90 degrees or 95 degrees. And this is the choice I need to make. Problem is, I don't want to make the choice. I want the world to accommodate me, instead of me adapting to the world. I like Urban Yoga Spa. I like the people. I like the teachers. I feel like it's my home. But I want it to be the way I want it. The argument about whether or not it is valuable to have it that hot is really a completely separate issue. It's got nothing to do with it, really. And I keep wrapping the two things into one. Conditions will not always be favorable. And when they aren't, how will I react? Will I endure? Will I flee? Will I complain?

One thing is for sure. I'm going to find out tomorrow in Gordy's class at 5:30pm.

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