30 November, 2013

Gentle class before a long flight

Today was gentle yoga with Jamie Pearsen on hitPLAYyoga.

I made a choice last night to stay awake until nearly 2am watching the end of a Netflix series (Continuum). My rationale was that I would be so messed up from the 9 hour time difference flying to Munich today that it would not really make a difference. But this meant that I woke up uncertain about what my yoga plan would be. I could not really drag myself to an 8am class, because I was too tired. Then, I wasn't even entirely sure I had the time or energy to practice at home.

The choice was to find what I thought would be either a restorative or yin type of class on HPY and just get a really good stretch. It turns out that the class I chose, though designated as a restorative class, was mostly just a slow vinyasa flow, without any particularly restorative elements. It was a 45 minute class. Despite the fact that I didn't really want to do Sun Salutations or Triangle poses, I went ahead and did what she said anyway, figuring that today was a bonus day.

With packing for my trip still a remaining task, my mind was a little bit distracted. So I did the best I could. Sunday will probably be a day off, since I will be very tired from not sleeping at all on the flight (I never do).

29 November, 2013

A day of transitions

Today was vinyasa with Pam.

I haven't seen Pam for a long time - probably close to two years, from when she taught at UYS. I remembered her as being spiritual and calming, while simultaneously very challenging, and occasionally a bit unpredictable in her sequences. That held true to form today.

Near the start of class, Pam mentioned about how we should pay very close attention the transitions between poses, and also to pay attention to these transitions in our lives off the mat. This was not something new to me, but it landed on me particularly strongly today.

Later in the evening, I met a friend of mine whose background is in architecture. He was talking about how the greatest architecture is not necessarily known for the spaces it creates, but for the transitions connecting spaces to one another.

I found it interesting that this topic of transitions arose twice for me today, in seemingly unrelated ways. But they are more connected than they seem. It's really the same message. A transition is greater than a single pose or space because it needs to fluidly tie together things that are often quite different from one another. A poor transition looks bad, feels bad, and does not inspire. A graceful transition calls even greater attention to the individual components, but also gives the observer some insight into the intentions of the creator. When you observe grace in a transition, you know that the practitioner has taken these things into consideration.

I don't know how, exactly, this fits into my life right now. But I suspect that either it has, it does, or it will one day.


28 November, 2013

Cactus arms

Today was vinyasa with Jenny Noonan on hitPLAYyoga.

Being Thanksgiving day, I decided to look for a challenging class to earn those extra turkey calories. It turns out, I didn't overeat. But still glad I pushed a bit today. The theme in the class was cactus arms. Every pose. Warrior. Chair. Triangle. You name it. And we did it. The reason was to teach us what it feels like to really lay the shoulder blades down flat. And it worked.

The flow started very vigorously, and I was sweating almost as much as in a heated room. But it was good. My mind was reasonably quiet and I am trying to relax with what is... recognizing that everything that is is pretty great.

I'll be in Munich for a week starting Saturday. And the mat comes with me. Maybe I will seek out a studio as a sort of field trip. But I will be on the mat no matter how or where.

27 November, 2013

Am I doing enough?

Today was "Sweet Slow Flow I" with Audra Grady on hitPLAYyoga.

I knew that my body needed a rest. From the heat. From the "Power Yoga." So I applied the appropriate search criteria on the hitPLAYyoga website, and came across a few choices for mellow classes. And it was, indeed, mellow. I relaxed into the breath, never feeling overexerted (though, I must confess, I could feel the residual fatigue from two tough classes in the one Warrior pose that we did).

It was exactly what my body needed today.

But somehow, I feel myself nagged by the feeling of "did I do enough?" Was that class enough? Or should I have been pushing myself a little harder? Or a lot harder? Was that class anything for me? Or was it no different than just taking a nap?

I know the answers to these questions. The yoga is the breath. The yoga is being in the moment. Whether one does jumping jacks, or handstands, or fireflies, or an hour of Savasana, the yoga is not defined by the shapes the body makes. I know this. And yet, there's that dialog going on in the background, even as I breathe fully... even as I achieve moments of moments. Something that keeps asking the questions... am I doing enough? Is this the right thing? What about this? What about that? What about... Am I enough?

I look at my little belly that has been aggravating me by being a pound or two plumper than it was six months ago, if that. And I think about how if I pushed harder every day, and ate less, and made better choices, and... and... and... and... and... and... then... then, I would be better... happier... more peaceful... less anxious...

And I know. I know. I know. These thoughts are incorrect. I know, and yet it's still difficult.

The small victory, if I can call out one, is that I listened to what my body needed today, in spite of the screaming voices. I didn't do nothing. And I didn't do too much. I did what I needed.

That is something.

26 November, 2013

Sun in Vertigo

Today was vinyasa with Carley.

Another 90 minute class. Two of those in a row is not something I typically do, but I really wanted to take Michel's class, and then I really wanted to take Carley's class. For one reason or another, I started getting vertigo near the end of class. Carley thought maybe it was dehydration. That's a reasonable guess, but it sort of feels more to me like a recurrence of that strange periodic vertigo that I have had for several years now. The first time I got it was 2008.

Class was difficult but not unreasonably so.

I am having a hard time still with the motivation. I am struggling between what I want versus what I think I should want. And afraid to just relax with what is, partly because of my nature, but also because I think our corporate culture does not want us to relax with what is. That is the opposite of productivity.

It occurred to me yesterday that I have been doing this career now for about seven years. I was a biologist for about seven years. And before that, I was an electrical engineer for about seven years. There's probably a reason why there's something called a seven-year itch. Though I don't think it necessarily was intended to be related to professions.

I don't know what's next.

I know I know I know that it is okay not to know. I know that in my mind, but I don't feel it. Or maybe I know it in my body but I don't think it. I am just not getting it. I don't know what will come next, but I know it will be something different.

I want to be doing something that matters. But I am also afraid to take on the commitment or responsibility of such things. My conflicting goals suspend me in this limbo.

25 November, 2013

Gratitude and sweat

Today was vinyasa with Michel.

Her class always has a very essential and magical feel to it. The only reason why I don't find myself there far more often is that I am a baby when it comes to enduring the difficult 90 minute class. At the start of class, she asked us to introduce ourselves to someone and tell them about a person for whom we are grateful. For whatever reason, I had just been thinking about my mother. Not sure why. She's not around anymore. It's been five years. I guess Thanksgiving is a holiday that I will always associate with my mom. Her famous(ly) unhealthy stuffing recipe (consisting of Ritz Crackers, Campbell's chicken with rice soup, chopped onions), the sound of the electric knife cutting the turkey, her Mrs. Constanza-like ability to emote, and the always-too-much food (yes, a potato dish, and a rice dish, and a cake, and a pie, and ice cream, of course).

Class was difficult, of course, but I am finding myself in a new phase where the only resistance that I am experiencing (when there is resistance) is not *wanting* to do something, versus feeling pain and heaviness like I had been feeling earlier this month.

That's a good thing.

The person who introduce herself to me said that she was grateful for her boyfriend and that he has been tolerating her lately while she's been "a brat." I kind of liked that sincerity. It's nice to think about people being aware of when they're being difficult, and then acknowledging it to a complete stranger.

That's what happens in yoga.

23 November, 2013

Bad choices and parallel lines

Today was vinyasa with Sean.

It was a free class. As such, it was absolutely packed. That brings me up against my desire to have space. I want my mat staggered with person next to me so I can sweep my arms out instead of the Baptistian sweeping forward that clearly evolved for purpose of packing studios. But as it got full I had to comply. And it raises the question of why am I more resistant to following those rules than others. I am seemingly defiant! Even after class started, I scooched my mat forward when I realized there was no one in front of me. Special treatment. Did my mother spoil me? Did she teach me I don't need to do anything I don't feel like doing? Heh. Who knows.

Class was tough. But good.

After class I met a friend for a drink, which turned out to be two drinks. Dehydrated from yoga. I became intoxicated. And the drinks were strong. The intoxication lingered through the evening and I spent the sleeping hours and most of Sunday headachy.

Not sure where my intelligence and discernment were with that one! But sometimes you have to go with the flow.

And color between the lines. 

Could there be a lesson for me in being obedient?

Friday flow at four

Today was vinyasa with Rachel Patterson.

I'd been expecting to take class with Elizabeth today but I guess she had a sub. It was a slow for with long deep holds. Somehow it again did not feel that difficult except for a little arm fatigue in those Warrior II poses.

My first time in Rachel's class. She had a good pace. The 75 minutes passed quickly and it was a small class.

That's all.

21 November, 2013

Time to Hit Play (Yoga)

Today was hour of power vinyasa with Laura Calcaterra on hitPLAYyoga.

Been thinking about giving this subscription service a try for a while, and decided to take the plunge today. Ali Kamenova's free YouTube videos have been great, but I am interested in having more variety available to me for home practice, and hitPLAYyoga has classes from at least 50 instructors from at least 30 studios. Can't really beat that.

I started off with Laura Calcaterra's 'Be With' Power Hour. She's a classic Baptiste-style teacher, and she got a lot done in an hour, at a good pace, with very little downtime between poses. Decent message, and enough inspirational words at the right parts of class to give that little extra.

Today, and for the past many days, I have been feeling easily triggered emotionally. Seems like just about anything could cause tears to come. Example: I was listening to a bit on NPR about how some doctors at Harvard just published a study saying that nuts make you live longer, with less incidence of life-shortening disease. And, somehow, this makes me cry... in the car... on I-5... driving home from the airport after a 2-day trip to San Francisco. Now, I'm sure it's not nuts that are making me cry. Just like I am sure it's not the fact that tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination (though, that made me cry too, when I heard about it on the news). And sitting in traffic, seeing the thousands of cars lined up in the darkness, there is just this overwhelming sensation of "What does it all mean?" Being down in San Francisco, and seeing a friend of mine, and walking around neighborhoods that still feel fresh and new to me, I wonder to myself, "How long can I just keep doing the same old things?"

I don't know what I am meant to do. And I know that it is okay. And I know that it takes patience. But sometimes I wonder if what I am doing while I am on that path is good enough. Above all else, I really want to believe that I am providing value to someone... to something. And sometimes I wonder.

The practice today felt perfectly strong, and pain-free. It was not very difficult, but I was also rested after a day off, and a few days away from hot studios.

Tomorrow, it's back to Be Luminous. Looking forward to it.

19 November, 2013

Today, my own class

Today was vinyasa home practice.

It’s been a long time since I have done a vinyasa class, self-guided. No studio. No video. No podcast. It’s not that difficult to come up with something on the fly. The Baptiste framework makes it pretty easy to “rough in” the basic structure. The Sun A. The Sun B. Then you need to find some way to work the Side Angles in there. And some Crescent Lunges. And some twists. Some triangle. Some standing poses. There are things that are sometimes in the sequence. There are things that are almost always in the sequence. And the relative ordering of poses follows some general guidelines, with a lot of leeway. You know that, in an hour class, there will be a tradeoff between things like Half Moon, Revolving Triangle, Twisted Chair (all skipped), versus Eagle, Dancer, Tree (all included). It’s kind of like improvising in music. There’s basic song structure, but then lots of different ways you can go with it.

One thing I find is that I am quite honest about giving it a good hard workout when I guide my own class at home, whereas I might waver depending on mood if I am doing a video or podcast at home (or perhaps even in a studio). If you ditch on a teacher’s commands, then there’s that mindset of being defiant. I am refusing to do what they told me to do because I don’t want to do it. It becomes oppositional. But if you ditch on a solo practice, all you are doing is being dishonest with yourself. There’s nobody to defy. Nobody to oppose. What does it mean to say to myself “Crescent Lunge…” and then decide not to put my arms up? Who am I fooling? It is true that I didn’t do a handful of poses that I don’t like, but that was today. If I did the solo practice every day, I would come around to putting those poses in, because, again, who am I kidding?

There’s a satisfaction in crafting my own sequence.

I wonder if there’s a metaphor for that in my life.

18 November, 2013

It's okay to not know...

Today was online vinyasa (podcast) with Adrienne Hengels.


I really didn't want to do yoga today. I really, really, really didn't want to. I had a tough day at work for reasons that were almost entirely internally driven. Just having trouble focusing. After finding the positive last week, today I found myself plummeting back down into the darkness and blocked state. One meeting where someone was being obstructionist, albeit because they care about what they were arguing against, but it set me in a mindset of "I am never going to be able to get anything done around here." Then the "I can't do this" thoughts came in, along with the not knowing why I am here, and feeling rather useless. I ended up deciding to head home a little early just to get away from it (though I found myself still answering work emails and messages even after my escape). Plopped myself down in front of Netflix for one episode of "Continuum" which has been a pleasant vacation from reality the last few days. Promised myself "One episode, then yoga." But wasn't really sure how I was going to motivate.

It didn't feel like an Ali Kamenova day. Her energy is a little too sedate for me. So I thought about podcasts. Didn't think I could bear a fourth (or is it fifth) time doing the same Kinndli McCollum class again. Too tedious. Needed something new. Almost listened to one by Mark White but the first 30 seconds of it didn't sound like it was going to be the right vibe. So... after a tiny bit of poking around, I stumbled across Adrienne Hengels, and figured I would give her a shot.

It was exactly what I needed. I went from a state of "I don't know how I am going to make myself do yoga right now," to a state of complete focus (well, maybe not complete, but pretty darn good). I stayed in the class, with every pose, no major distractions or mind wandering, for the entire class, and felt strong the entire way too. She's a little quick with her flows for my breath cycle, but I really was willing to do whatever someone told me to do right now. Just wanted to resign myself to the practice and let it take me on the ride. Whatever she's got going on has to be better than the bats fluttering around my belfry right now.

It was pretty standard Baptiste, with a few nice variations, some of which I wasn't even sure I was doing what she was saying to do, but no matter. Did the best I could. Her message is really good, and she talked a lot about not letting the mind go to the next thing we need to do. Check. And about how maybe there are tough times or that we feel stuck, but that will pass. Check.

At the end, the podcast kept rolling during a relatively long Savasana (for a recorded class - they usually cut away before or during Savasana and leave you to your own devices). I might have normally shut it off, but I laid there and stayed still. And after about 5 minutes, Adrienne did a reading that really hit right where I needed it today. It was a reading about "Not Knowing."

I Googled it, and found the link to it. I share it with you here in a blog that is quoting "Journey Into The Heart" by Melody Beattie (who seems to say all the inspirational stuff).

17 November, 2013

Hard choices

Today was vinyasa with Gordy at Urban Yoga Spa.

And I think it may have been my last class at UYS. And it is most definitely not because of the instructors, so many of whom I love. It’s just that I do not want to engage in my yoga practice in an environment that is physically punishing, and that is exactly what I have encountered time and time again at the studio. I offered my feedback, but I was apparently not a majority opinion. And I accept that everyone has different preferences. But I need to do what is right for my body, my practice. I will say more about that, but would like to talk about the class first, before I go too far astray on my rant.

As per Gordy, this was not a standard class, by any stretch of the imagination. One comes to expect that with Gordy, and that is part of the reason why I came this morning. I wanted to have a tough class, that pushed my boundaries a bit. We spent about 15-20 minutes at the start of class doing various types of core work on our backs. Then the class transitioned into the flow series, which was very interesting. The basic idea was to come into a low lunge and then engage in a series of variations around that low lunge. After making the way through the variations, we rotate to the rear of the mat and repeat the process on the other side. This filled almost the entirety of the remaining hour of the class, with the variations digging deep into side angle poses, and side planks, and various other poses that could be reasonably entered from the starting point of the low lunge. It was a good class. My experience the next day was that I really felt that I had worked my obliques, my abs, and deep in the hips. In contrast, it was relatively easy on the upper body, which is often not the case in a vinyasa class. 

I encountered a lot of those old demons that I experienced when I frequented UYS on a regular basis, in terms of the back of my mind echoing the things that “should” and “shouldn’t” be. And I completely recognize that there’s a metaphor in here. What happens when the heat’s too much? Do I get out of the kitchen? I know that is an interpretation one could have. And there are certainly situations where I experience the urge to flee, condemn, and never return, albeit fleeting, in much less extreme environments. But I know what my body tells me. And my body tells me that nausea, dizziness, weakness, and a kind of heart-pounding, distress are not “yoga” for me. Why not just practice standing on hot coals? If one could achieve stillness in that, would not one be more well adapted to the day-to-day life? 

I don’t know. I can admit that I don’t know if I just have a really low threshold for heat, or for discomfort. And I also know that I don’t really need to justify it or explain it. You don’t really care what my reasons are, and I am not really writing this to justify myself. Well, probably I am. I should at least acknowledge that. I want validation. God, of course I do. Of course, I want my 5 readers to come up the next time they see me and say “You’re totally right! It *is* way too hot there! You’re not *wrong* to decide to go elsewhere!” Yeah, maybe that’s really where my opportunity for growth is. To not feel like I need people to validate my choices.

I am also writing this because I want to make the commitment to myself not to keep revisiting the thing that I have made a decision about. I have made this choice before, but then I find that I miss it, and that maybe it’s worth subjecting myself to the conditions just to see the teachers whom I miss. But yoga practice is not social hour. I could make a social call on the people I miss. The practice is about an inner journey.

So here I am.

Gunshots and barking dogs

Today was vinyasa with Ali Kamenova.

A new video of hers that I had not seen. She did it on a porch near the ocean and there were all sorts of weird happenings like people passing through the background, dogs barking, and loud noises that sounded like gunshots.

Practicing at home to give myself a break from the heat. Still feeling pretty good. Focus was solid for a home practice.

Just trying to show up each day and keep a positive attitude.

14 November, 2013

Two for Two

Today was vinyasa with Tina.

And today was the second day of yoga since this new proclamation that I am "over the negative" state of mind. And today, I felt strong. And my body did not hurt. And class was not dreadful. And my mood remains more positive. There is no futility. Can it really be as simple as a choice? Can the choice to "be positive" really take hold "just like that?"

Apparently so.

There's not much else to say, so I will leave it at that.

12 November, 2013

Unfortunately, attitude is everything

Today was vinyasa with Chelle Swierz.

Before class, I had written that I plan to change the attitude, and that I can no longer allow myself to wallow in the state of melancholy that I have been drifting deeper into over the past weeks. I expected that this would have an impact on my practice. Not surprisingly, it did. Although it was an extremely difficult class, I did not find the same struggle, suffering, and negative emotion arising during the class. She did a very traditional "Journey Into Power" sequence. I am not going to say that I effortlessly "rocked" it, because that is also untrue. But I didn't add to my suffering by opposing everything that was presented to me.

I wonder how it is that merely setting the intention to "feel better" can make one actually feel better. It is possible, in some cases, to change the way we feel simply by a choice. I know this, and keep coming back to it. Though, it seems somewhat elusive. There is a tendency to want to cling to the stuff that induces more suffering. What does it buy us? How is that comforting?

Anyway, I think the worst may be behind me. If for no other reason than I am saying so.

Here is the time to bounce back

Today was home hatha.

I was in a mood. And I did not want to practice. But I knew I had to. And while I did all the poses with reasonable attention and did a full practice, it lacked compassion. It lacked intention. And there was unkindness toward myself.

It has to stop. I need to bounce back. No more dwelling. It is unfair to myself and those around me. And the season is not an excuse.

I am about to do a ninety minute class. Wanted to catch up on yesterday's entry before today because I want them separate. Yesterday is behind me as is the heaviness that came with it. I am moving forward.

Curious to see how it feels in my body. But I suspect I know the answer already.

10 November, 2013

This is definitely a down phase

Today was vinyasa with Alice.

I have to say that it's definitely a down phase. Hurting more often than not. Unmotivated about work more often than motivated. Feeling more socially isolated than connected. I suppose it is the season. November is not typically thought of as a "happy month." The days are getting shorter. And I have seen these cycles before.

And, AHA! If l look back one year, I was indeed in the exact same place. Things were hurting more, I was slogging through injuries, nursing it, struggling, and growing darker with the season. For reference, here's an entry that was typical of the period:


A particularly relevant quote:

"I have been in a negative place lately. A bit of regression. Seeing the bad in the world. Focusing on the negative in my life and in those around me. Obsessing over the bad news in the media. Dark. Dreary. Heavy."

That is quite interesting, and perhaps exactly why I set out to write this blog in the first place. Merely having that data point to reference provides me with something that I can clearly point to, and say "Don't worry... this happens each year... it shall pass."

Alice has been doing a lot of Crescent Lunge lately. Maybe she has always done that, but I have been noticing it a more of late. I'm having a hard time with balance in Crescent Lunge. I don't think this was a problem for me a year ago. I would say that the pose is becoming more difficult for me. The reason this scares me is because it makes me wonder if something in my spinal cord is damaged that is affecting strength in whatever muscles are involved in the side-to-side balance. Outer hip muscles. And that is also consistent with what the physical therapist told me, about my outer hips being weaker than normal. I realize this probably just all sounds paranoid, but it's very evident in the poses.

As class wears on, I find myself longing for the end. My energy is off. Just want to be in one long Savasana. One long sleep.

08 November, 2013

The Yoga Tree

Today was Hatha with Lindsay Loeffler at The Yoga Tree in Fremont.

I signed up for some sort of class pack way back in July when I first joined Google, because I was concerned that I would not be able to keep doing yoga every day, now that I am working in Fremont. Fortunately, I signed up for a package that had no expiration date, because it has turned out that I can do yoga just fine at all of my usual places. But today, the schedule was such that it just seemed like a good idea to give this a try, since they had a noon class and it is just up the street.

Yoga Tree is not a heated studio, which has the added advantage of making it feel like a "gentle day" in comparison to the practices at other studios. There were only 7 students in class, and it was a bright, mellow studio. The Hatha practice felt a lot closer to Ashtanga, than to the Bikram-esque Hatha that is done at Urban Yoga Spa. In fact, now that I have taken Hatha at 3 or 4 different studios, I would say that UYS is the outlier in their Hatha style, not the norm. But it still has its place, and when you want a Bikram-esque class without quite the formality, it is an excellent choice.

Lindsay smiled the entire class.

My back hurt the entire class. I think I've just done a lot of hard work this week on the yoga mat.

07 November, 2013

Breaking the usual patterns

Today was power vinyasa with Tina Templeman.

At the start of class, Tina was sitting quietly at the back of the large room, facing the Buddha statue. The doors were open between the two rooms, so there was a lot more space than usual today. The room also was not as hot as it sometimes is, perhaps because of the extra time it takes to heat the larger space. When class started, Tina announced that she didn't have many words for us today. With that, we launched into a pretty intense practice. The intensity derived more from the unpredictability than the sheer fire of it. Among Tina's few words were some points she made about breaking our usual patterns. She spoke indirectly about Samskara, without calling them by their name. We started class on our backs with a very intense abs practice. She asked us what we do when things get hard.

I was in a pretty good space today, though my low back has been hurting a little bit more the past couple of days, and I am still feeling the residual effects of Jennifer Fu's Blitzkrieg from Tuesday.

I have been experiencing difficulty just setting myself down and getting shit done lately. Especially finishing things. And especially anything that just requires patient, methodical, slogging through things. I keep hunting for distractions. Anything to think about other than what I should be thinking about. And I don't understand why. I see this show up a little bit on my mat. When we near the end of a class, sometimes, I will just find myself dreading the thought of Pigeon, or spinal twists, and occasionally being defiant about them, and simply refusing. And these are not even poses that are challenging. I don't even dislike them. But I find myself resisting, and I wonder if it's related. The finishing stages of something don't hold the same attention as the heavy lifting.

I find myself not even keeping the commitments to focus when I make them. I say "I am just going to finish doing this task" and then 3 minutes later, I am off having a look at something completely unrelated. Surely there are people who would decide that they have adult ADHD, and try to get a prescription, or that maybe it's due to anxiety or depression, and there's a medication for that, etc. But I don't think this is something that requires "treatment" from Western medicine. It requires hard work. I became stuck like this in the past. And I am not truly stuck on all channels. Just some.

The two things I would like to address are:

  1. Why am I stuck on these channels? How can I understand it?
  2. What steps can I take to redirect?
It is entirely possible that the first question does not require answering.

California slammin'

Today was vinyasa with Jennifer Fu at Yoga Belly.

You can say one thing for sure about California. They know how to turn the dial to eleven. Super intense class. I thought I was gonna be able to hang with it the whole way but I faltered toward the end. It was unusual flow with lots of time on one leg. Oddly no chair poses but she found other ways of completely toasting us.

I was in a good head space and glad to be practicing at a studio while traveling. That's good.
She was a good teacher too.

I just don't know how California gets a reputation as being laid back.

04 November, 2013

More taking it day by day

Today was vinyasa online with Ali Kamenova.

I really never know what's coming. And it's really best to never start to expect trends to continue. Hurting for days, and didn't even really want to do yoga today, but I found that I was able to focus and have a good "class" even with all of the challenges: hurting, typically have hard time focusing at home, getting ready to go to airport tonight... these "should" have all been impediments to a good practice, but that wasn't the case. Who knows why, really? Why is one day different from another?

This is a pretty good class, this one. I am still liking Ali's classes, probably because she doesn't get too crazy, and she doesn't go too fast or too slow. There is challenge, and I can find internal heat without even being in a hot yoga studio, when taking her class. I am also just in awe of the generosity she has for posting so many free videos online. She could (and perhaps will) make a site someday where she gets paid for access to these. But for now, namaste.

03 November, 2013

Practicing patience with others, but not self

Today was vinyasa with Alice.

I spent the day working on music. I've been doing some recording of a neighbor who is much younger than I am. He brought a friend over to do some additional parts on the song, and the friend had a very different energy than "what I had signed up for." The guy I have been working with is very mellow. This guy seemed like a great candidate for ADHD medications. My initial reaction was that he wasn't going to be a good drummer, based on the first few minutes. But I was also feeling a bit anxious because I had never recorded drums before, and wasn't sure we really needed to do it. And, as we started listening to what had already been recorded, this guy had lots of "opinions" and "ideas" about how the song should sound. Bit by bit, it was coming clear that he thought that everything that I had recorded should be removed, and that the only parts worth keeping were the ones that were not played by me. This could have been, and sort of was, a little bit hard to hear. And he was having some noticeable influence over his friend's thinking. They asked my opinion, but I decided that my role in this situation was "recording engineer" and that I should defer to their preferences, or at least save the debate for when it was back to being just the two of us.

I didn't lose my patience, though it was a little tough. And after the drummer guy left, we ended up discussing further and coming to a balance that was a happy medium from where we started. It was a balance that I think was indeed in service of the best interest of "The Music." And much of what I had recorded remained in the mix.

So the lesson was to be patient, hold the pose, not react, and things will likely be better than the negative reactions that impulsively bounce about in the mind.

It feels counterintuitive, then, that I should walk from that experience onto the yoga mat, immediately be brutally harsh with myself the entire class, berating myself with negative thoughts about my physical inadequacy, actually angry at myself for being in pain. My knees hurt, probably due to the change toward colder weather. And my low back was really aching, most likely from the tough class I had taken the day before. And the amount of tolerance I had for my own limitations was exactly zero.


The whole point of the practice is to accept. So what was going on?

Perhaps, after all that "holding in" of reactions to the guys when I was feeling like my efforts were not appreciated, or my ideas were not good enough, there was a residual echo of inadequacy that hadn't been addressed? Yoga teaches us not to be reactive in life, but is it really a valid practice to save it all up for self-torture on the mat?

There was a lot of Crescent Lunge in today's class, and it made me frustrated because of how fatiguing that pose is for me. Everything hurts. Things that don't usually hurt are hurting. I kinked my neck when sleeping, and felt the effects of that too. My quads felt like someone had hammered on them with a tenderizing mallet.

Practice patience. With yourself first.

02 November, 2013

Happy child baby thing

Today was vinyasa with Sean at Be Luminous.

It was a funny class, with Sean's comments ranging from "I don't know anybody who doesn't sweat doing hot yoga... do you? Maybe Vanessa Garibaldi..." to referring to "Happy Baby" as "Happy Child Baby Thing." It was definitely a class with a lot of levity.

But that's not to say that it wasn't difficult.

Got to practice next to my friend Emily again, which was nice. Second time in a week. I dunno. I guess that's all I have to say today. I've been feeling a lot of low-level anxiety lately, as evidenced by the various nervous behaviors I use to cope with said anxiety. I don't know where it's coming from, but suspect it is probably due mostly to work anxiety. But, again, who knows...

Shoulder rest day

Today was hatha at home. Self practice.

Budgeting the days on and days off to afford proper rest. The last two days killed me but I didn't want to practice Friday so Thursday home hatha was the compromise. It was a reasonably focused practice though I found my balance to be abysmal. So far out of whack that I needed to pretty much acknowledge that was where I was today. Not sure why. It felt like the floor wasn't flat! That's how bad it was. Falling out of tree, one of my favorite poses.

One must try not to metaphorize in such situations. At least not prematurely. Where in my life am I out of balance? Anywhere?

Maybe I am just tired...