30 May, 2013

Rest is in sight

Today was Vinyasa with Tina Templeman.

Perhaps part of what made this class endurable was the knowledge that tomorrow would be a long-awaited day off, after eight consecutive days of yoga across West Coast. Five studios in four cities. Doing yoga nearly every day is sometimes a logistical jigsaw puzzle. And traveling adds complexity to that. The good news is always that “a mat is a mat” and once one lands on the mat, time and space become relatively unimportant.

All that said, today was one of the most difficult classes, from the standpoint of environmental conditions, that I can ever recall at Be Luminous. We had four rows of between ten and twelve people, for a total of about 45 students in the half studio. Typically, this class would have the room spread open into the larger space, but that didn’t happen today. As such, the situation started off crowded and chaotic, and became oppressive, primarily from the humidity, as the class progressed. I would even venture to say that the temperature was nowhere near 90 degrees, probably somewhere between 80-85, but it made no difference as our sweat steamed up the room, and oxygen became progressively scarcer.

But do not doubt for a second that Tina was going to bring the fire, regardless of these circumstances. I don’t even know what it was about the sequence that felt extra difficult, but it was just an unrelenting series of Chaturangas. We hit upon everything one would typically find in a longer Baptiste Journey Into Power class, except that the 60 minute format meant the transitions between each loop were lightning fast. 
Nonetheless, Tina is amazing at packing it in without compromising the duration of the breath. I never feel like I am unable to keep up in her classes. That, to me, is the mark of the truly experienced teachers. They know how to drive pace and intensity without losing the integrity of a proper breath cycle. This is probably true of fewer than half the teachers out there in the yoga community at large (though, I have found that Be Luminous is quite consistent in this respect). And, for that matter, perhaps some people like it faster. It may just be that, me being an old fogey and all, I prefer the pace of 5 breaths per minute, as opposed to some younger yogis who can push double that pace.

Given how packed the room was, I had some expectations (never a good idea) that we wouldn’t be doing certain types of poses that require space. I had figured, for instance, that we’d not do Airplane or Dancer’s Pose. Wrong. We did both. I was so exhausted by the time we hit Dancer’s Pose, that I decided to experiment with placing my hand flat against the front wall, since I was in the front row, to provide a little stability and enable a better stretch without needing to battle my hamstring to maintain balance. That is actually quite a nice way of doing it, and I had never tried before.

By the end of class, I was completely wiped out, but in a good way. There were times during the class where the humidity, and the stinging sweat blinding me and irritating me by running up and down my face were driving me crazy. But I weathered it. That’s what we do. 

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