13 February, 2013

Quietly practicing...

I haven't been writing lately.

A half-finished vacation journal, fading further and further from memory. Weeks of yoga without documenting the thoughts in my head or the feelings in my body. I get quiet sometimes. And then the voices pop up in my head about how I didn't stick to my commitment, or about how I had something good going, and let it slide. But each time I have thought about sitting down to type, I haven't had anything I wanted to say in here.

But I have been practicing. Almost every day.

Last week, and probably for some time prior, I had been feeling down, heavy, tired, still recovering from the trip and from a cold I got after returning. Friday, I took Elizabeth Thomas's class, which is my usual Friday go-to lately. For some reason, energy came out of nowhere, and there was even a point about a third of the way into the class where I felt almost invincible. Where did that even come from? I proceeded to do many poses that I had been systematically, automatically excluding from my practice lately: Flipped Downward Dog, Twisted Crescent Lunge, Twisted Chair... heck, I think I may have even done a Wheel (okay, maybe I didn't do the Wheel). But it was just completely out of nowhere. Was it the energy of everyone in the room? It's nice to have unexpectedly positive moments, and it's fun to recognize them, and roll with them, rather than sit back in routine and miss the opportunity to soar.

Dropped in to Live Love Flow on Saturday to take a class with an instructor I hadn't seen before, but sounded great from the info on the website. Her name is Janna. We ended up having a substitute, Farzeen, whom I have had as a substitute previously at Be Luminous. Tough class for me, with my body probably spent from all the soaring the day before.

Sunday, I did a special Ashtanga Primary Series class at Elizabeth McElveen's "White Studio" on Westlake. Her classes are always special, but this felt even more special than the usual special because it was in her space, and it was a small group (7) students who came there explicitly to be in Elizabeth's class. And while the words and the poses were quite the same as her class at Be Luminous, the smaller group meant that there was something more that I had not experienced in her classes before: touch, personal guidance. In a class of 20-30 students, it's just not possible to give much 1:1 attention. So that was really nice.

Monday was a fabulous, but utterly roasting Hot Hatha class, with Patrick at Urban Yoga Spa. I love that class, and it's become quite popular and crowded, either because there are fewer Hatha offerings there now, or possibly because of the yoga challenge they have going on right now. It's interesting to have a class where I feel like my practice itself is strong, but at the same time, I am nearly keeling over with dizziness and exhaustion. As I told Patrick after class, I was surfing my edge for the entire 60 minutes.

Today, I took a Community Class with a new instructor, Monte Johnson, whom I have seen quite often when practicing, but I did not know he was a teacher until today. Monte's a muscular guy. It has always intrigued me how someone balances that much strength and muscle mass with the flexibility that lies in so many of the yoga poses. So we talked a bit after class about how he came to pursue the Baptiste training. I often feel like I am not ready to do teacher training yet because my practice should be more of this, or more of that. And I know that's "a story I tell myself" (to use the lingo). I know that the only way to be "ready" to do it is to just do it.

Elizabeth McE ends every class, as I am sure I mentioned at least once before, speaking of the qualities of "clarity, discernment, and intelligence." Nearly every day I practice. And yet it remains a struggle to keep my eye on those wonderful and seemingly obvious goals. All I can say for sure is that I now know that those are the goals that I am aiming toward. And I am learning that slipping off course does not mean all is lost. Recognizing it is just an opportunity to reset the course. Just as noticing we've lost the breath, or lost our low-belly lock, is just an opportunity to regain those things. The practice teaches us to keep practicing.

Every moment is a new opportunity to be here. Now.