28 May, 2013

Lucky to be here

Today was Gentle Yoga with Elizabeth McElveen.

The class, in spite of its name, was anything but gentle, as is often the case. But it was incredibly inspiring and I felt so lucky to be a part of the experience. For some reason, from moment #1, it was clear that class would be "different" today. Elizabeth suggested that we all line up facing one another, on opposite sides of the room, the way classes are done at Acme Yoga and The White Studio. There's something right away about that experience of seeing people that intensifies a class. Though we're in our own practice, and we aren't technically supposed to be looking around the room, there's still a kind of connection of being in these rows. The next big thing, at least for me, was that there were a handful of teachers in the small group that attended class today. Carley was there. So were Jessica and Vanessa. I don't know why, but for some reason, it made the class seem extra-special, and I even felt a kind of nervous energy with all that yoga talent in the room. I know it's silly.

Elizabeth told us that we'd be using the wall to help us split our legs apart in 3-legged downward dog. This is something I have spoken about in previous posts, and something I enjoy doing. So I was overjoyed that this would be part of the agenda. She also indicated that we'd be doing inversions on the wall. That generated a mixture of curiosity and a little bit of fear, since I generally don't do such things. I also knew that, if it came to it, I would be doing it today, because I am taking a different approach to the whole deal of things I don't usually do.

Her words were of the usual gravity and inspiration, but perhaps somewhat fewer than usual. The practice itself involved a surprisingly similar series of transitions, from Warrior poses, to Half Moon, to Revolved Half Moon, that we'd seen in Vanessa's class the previous day. I was surprised at how much fire we got in this class, but I guess she must have been reading the energy and experience in the room. People certainly seemed up for it, and I guess I was too.

When it came time for the inversions, I opted for a handstand, starting with my back to the wall. So I would walk my feet up the wall until vertical, and then begin walking my hands a little closer to the wall. I saw that I actually walked my hands quite close to the wall, and that I felt pretty stable and strong. I wasn't able (nor did I try too hard) to get the legs off the wall. But I went up three times, and felt good every time. It's huge progress from where I would have been a year ago, or maybe even 3 months ago.

I wish I could relate the sensations I experienced during class, just being there. Every class with Elizabeth is a blessing and a treat, and these are moments that are easy to cherish.

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