Conventional wisdom says to pace yourself. If you go too hard at the start, you could just burn out and not be able to finish. I've done that, to one extent or another, through many of my classes. Now I'm beginning to think that I might be cheating myself. There are spots where I typically take it a bit easy, and it is all too easy to say that I'm just saving myself to get through class. At one time, that might have been true, but now its starting to feel more and more like an excuse -- because really giving 100% all the time is just hard.
We are told again and again that every day our bodies are different, and we need to learn not to expect to do one day what we did the last. The more I think about that, the more it means don't pace myself. After all, pacing is just making an anticipation about how I'm going to perform later in the practice and making an adjustment early to prepare for it. And that just cheats me out of some effot early on. So I'm thinking it might just be better in the long run to push until I get too tired, and then sit out if I must. That way, eventually I may not have to sit out, and be able to give 100% throughout.
The pacing I'm talking about may be a bit subtle. Where I'm slacking is in little things, like lowering my arms between the right and left hand side of Triangle and Standing Separate Head to Knee, or like bending my knees and leaning a bit forward for breath between poses instead of standing still. The problem is that I've been doing these slight deviations again and again, and I may be starting to depend on them. Instead, I'm thinking that I will do better in the long run if I try either to do be in all the way, or sitting out. This yoga was simply not meant for half measures.
Class was fine. The balancing series was a bit off. Back strengthening was good, especially Locust. I felt like I was close to a real breakthrough, but I couldn't quite just get through whatever is stopping me from really going up towards vertical. Half Tortoise was also good, I had my hips on my heels, and was feeling long and strong through the spine. Basically, it was another solid, strong class.
So you might ask why the talk about pacing? Well, I rented a towel because I forgot my neat Yogitoes towel. It's the first time I've had a regular towel in about 5 months. Before, I hated the normal towels because they bunched up all over the place. Yesterday, that didn't happen. And that's great: my towel stayed put because I'm staying pretty still (or at least my feet are). So then I started noticing the other little ways to cheat that I've managed to find, and they all boil down to the same thing. I started pacing myself when I really needed it, and now I'm holding on to the same crutches when it has passed time to let go of them.