Today, I felt a bit like I was back on track. Class pretty much flew by. The heat was up pretty high, but it felt good and not al all oppressive. And unlike yesterday, I felt like I was putting all my effort and attention into the poses. So, all in all, it was a good class.
Balancing was only mediocre. I fell out of each part one time. In Standing Head to Knee, I fall because I start to lose my balance to the outside of my foot. I think this is an alignment issue, and I should probably go back to the first part of the pose for a while to get an even more solid knee lock. In Standing Bow, I fall out because the stretch becomes very intense. I should be able to overcome this with just a deeper concentration. Basically, I think if I could learn to breath into the stretching pain, I could hold this pose longer. But its in little things like that where the true difficulty lies.
Back strengthening was really good today. Cobra was really good. From class to class I can feel myself lifting up even more with just my back, and then I can get a really good stretch in the upper back. Locust was better than its been for a while, as was Floor Bow. After locust, I felt the beginnings of a cramp just below my left scapula. And in Floor Bow, I could feel a real tightness/tiredness feeling in a line across my middle back.
Before class I was talking with a man who has been coming to this studio since it opened. He has probably taken over 500 classes in the last two years, and did other yoga before this. He said, with a touch of bemusement, that he still couldn't lock his knee. So I watched him in a few poses. He kicks out in Standing Head to Knee without a fully locked knee. I don't know much, but it seems pretty clear to me that you need to learn to really lock the knee before you start to kick out. Once you are concentrating on the kicked out leg, it's exceedingly difficult to focus on locking the standing knee. Besides that, its dangerous and he's lucky that he hasn't hurt his back. Then I saw him going into Fixed Firm: He goes all the way back into the full posture, but his hips are off the ground. Again, I thought this was dangerous. And it probably is not giving him the full benefits of the pose. Now I wonder if I should talk to him, and I know him well enough that I probably will.
The point here is that he is really a good, dedicated student, and there are still some things that seem to have slipped by him. And I'm pretty sure the same happens to all of us. I know that I discover little adjustments I need to do in the poses all the time. And who knows, maybe there are some really big errors that I have been making all along. Both of the errors I saw today, I think, come from wanting to go deeper into a pose before being ready for it. That's a huge temptation, and one that I have been trying to guard against. But today I started inching back some in Fixed Firm myself. Was I truly ready for it? Or was I just trying to get deeper into the pose so I could reward myself with another breakthrough? Sometimes it's pretty hard to tell.