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.

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