17 September, 2012

È sempre vicino alla fine

This evening was Power Vinyasa with Sue.

We had some extra guests in class tonight. Actually, we've had 2 extra guests in about half of our classes. The owner of Locanda del Gallo, Paola, has attended several times. And our massage therapist, Shelley, has also come to about half the classes. Today, we had an additional yogi, one of the guests who was visiting from the United Kingdom. It was nice having the extra population in class, I think. Though it is great, in most respects, having a very small group, with dedicated attention to each of us, the slightly larger group brings more of a feeling of "the collective" in terms of breathing, and the overall energy in class is buoyed by it.

As the end nears, I am very consciously cherishing the moments on the mat with this group, especially Sue, who has singlehandedly changed my yoga practice in 7 days. The beauty of yoga practice, and its inherent nature, combined with a great instructor, is that if you are really listening both to the guidance and to your body, it is possible to make changes that have far-reaching impact quite quickly, and to remember those changes. The words of a good instructor become like a subconscious mantra or tape-reel that runs in your mind from that point forward, always available whenever you need to call upon them.

Tonight's practice was a very balanced practice that felt a bit like an integration of much of what we have learned. It was only an hour, concise, crisp. We didn't do much "workshop" compared to most of the other classes, but we just executed on many of the poses we have broken down each day for the past week. I would not assert that tomorrow will be the equivalent of the "yoga performance" but in that analogy, tonight's class felt a little like the respective "yoga dress rehearsal."

I'm feeling a little bit of the lightness in the arms in Warrior II now, after working on all the adjustments we've learned. I believe there's much further I can go, of course. But I achieved some lightness, and I also understand better what are some of the main factors underlying why it does not feel lighter than it presently is. I am feeling more lightness in my legs in Warrior II as well,  because of these "microadjustments," some of which were easy to employ, and some of which my body fights against, due to my tight areas, but nonetheless are still helpful in distributing weight more evenly. Warrior II is just an example, but this applies to most of the poses. The same is true in High Plank and Low Plank. I have experienced, in the past, very random differences from class to class, day to day, in how my body and shoulder feels in these poses. And I think it may be because I have not consistently maintained particular elements of form that matter a lot, because I did not have a mental language (or maybe it's a somatosensory language) for knowing what those elements were.

I could potentially have learned these things over time, had I not come to the retreat. And, to a degree, I have been learning many of these things. But there's a focus that happens in a setting like this. And I can't possibly trade away the experience of having done it here, in Umbria, with this group of people.

One more day. One more class. Curious to see how tomorrow feels (it's actually the beginning of "today" as I finish writing this, but we'll call it tomorrow, since you're all still in yesterday).

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