I stayed with the class today, but had trouble between poses with my breathing. Some days there just isn't enough air in the room. Zeb even called me out on it in the beginning of Balancing Stick. I didn't have the same difficulty while actually in the poses. But the transitions really hit me hard.
I've been re-reading a long fantasy series called The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan. The main character uses a technique called the Flame and the Void to focus while doing archery (and in other circumstances where he's trying to control his emotions/fears). It's described in much greater detail in the books, but basically he imagines a flame burning in front of him, and he throws all of his distractions into the flame, which creates a void around him. For kicks today, I tried doing this in some of the poses. And to my surprise, it actually seemed to work. In the second set of Triangle, I was imagining a flame before me, and basically blocked out just about everything else. I came out of the pose late because I was even blocking out the dialogue by that point -- and I don't think I've ever come out of Triangle late. This is something I'm going to look into a bit more, I think. And people say fantasy books are worthless....
My overall flexibility was much better today. My left hip/butt improved quite a bit over the last few days. I got deeper into each of the forward bends without any extra pain. The danger here is that I'm afraid I might be lulled into a false sense of security, and then push it too hard again. Right now, it feels OK. The soreness persists, but without any shooting pains or any sudden pains. I still think its going to be slow going, but perhaps not quite as slow as I had feared.
The Camel rush came over me again tonight. This time I managed to breathe through it, and stayed with the pose for the duration. I'm still amazed at how the difficulty of a pose can change. Just a couple of weeks ago, Lenette had us in Camel for more than a minute, and it was no problem at all. Now its one of the hardest poses in the series for me. I just hope that means I'm doing something right.
This is Zeb's last week. He's moving to Baltimore. Many of the Bikram teachers are young and live a vagabond/wanderer's lifestyle. I'm sorry to see him go. His classes are easily the hardest of any of the teachers here, and because of that they can also be the most satisfying. And on top of that, he is just a really nice and very dedicated guy. The Baltimore studio is lucky to be getting him.