28 May, 2014

Eyes Shut

Today was vinyasa with Sean.

This 90 minute class starts with 10-15 minutes of meditation, followed by the yoga. For some reason, it occurred to me that I would do this class with my eyes closed, as much as possible. So, from the start of the meditation until the end of Savasana (which ended up being more like 95 minutes, since class ran a little long), my eyes remained shut, with the exception of a blink here and a check there, which could not have amounted to more than 1 minute, in total.

I have never done that before. I was in a class once where the instructor (Troy) told us to close our eyes for a portion of the sequence. But I mostly did not heed his instruction, because I was not comfortable. But today, it was just the obvious thing to do. I have been struggling with ambiguity, and becoming so anxious and stressed about things that I either do or do not have control over (mostly related to the fear that I don't or won't have control). What would happen if I did the yoga without knowing how I looked, and without the barometer of vision to guide me? It just felt like it would be instructive in some way to the issues I have been facing off the mat.

As the class progressed, I found that my focus was pretty good. It's difficult to come up into Warrior I or transition into Warrior II with eyes closed. It's very difficult to come into Crescent Lunge, and going in and out of a twist was challenging. I noticed that my feet tend to drift toward the left of my mat during Chaturanga when not monitored. Not sure why this shift to the left happens, but found that it nags at me, and it was the place where I wanted to keep making quick glances. Remaining perfectly centered holds great importance to me for some reason. It is actually uncomfortable for me to just "let it be."

I realized at a certain point in the class that we would eventually get to balancing poses. There would be Eagle, Tree, Dancer... what would happen? Would the wheels come off the bus? Would I choose to open my eyes? Or would I choose to fall out of the pose? The odd thing that happened was that we never did the standing balance poses. They never happened. And neither did Pyramid or Triangle, two of the other poses that might have been tricky. I hadn't bothered to worry too much, because I had made the commitment, and was going to just let it be what it would be. And, then, strangely enough, I was never confronted with the challenge.

Sean noticed that my eyes were closed and commented on it after class. It was a small class, so it was easy to notice. He said he hadn't consciously decided to skip the balance poses, nor had he forgotten them. It was just the way today's class happened to go. But I can't help but wonder if there's a subconscious connection there... "I wonder what's gonna happen to Bob when we get to Dancer's Pose?" Of course, it would be vain if I believed that he consciously was thinking about that. But subconsciously... who knows? It is rather odd for all of those poses to be absent from a 75-90 minute class, especially with Sean, who has a reputation for being tough.

The point here: the world didn't come crashing down around me because I let go of extreme control. And many of the things that I was aware could be greater challenges never came to pass. But, had they come to pass, I would have taken the as they came, and I didn't need to have a game plan in advance. I also didn't burden myself for the first 45 minutes, thinking "What the hell am I going to do when it gets to Dancer's Pose?" And the reason was because it wasn't really that important. It would be what it would be, and I would do what I needed to do.

There's a lesson in here for me.

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