Thursday, January 22, 2009


Wednesday 8:15 pm with Amy
Thursday 10:30 am with Lenette

Last night's class was the toughest I've had in a long time.  Starting in half moon, I got short bursts of lightheadedness.  I lost my breath after Triangle and had to sit out the first set of Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee.  Then, I nearly lost my lunch in the back strengthening series.  (Important safety tip:  no more mexican food for lunch before a yoga class.  I know better by now, and yet I still do it sometimes.)  And even the winding down part of the class was a bit of a struggle.  I left feeling as drained as I have in many months.

So this morning, I went back with some reservations.  And those reservations, by themselves, I think hampered the first part of the class.  I went into the first postures with a bit of trepidation, just feeling like I was not up for another struggle.  So then, somewhere around Triangle, I decided not to struggle.  And from there class got better and better.  The heat wasn't oppressive any more.  I paid really good attention to my form in the standing series.  And I came out of class feeling great.  Mostly the change was a change in attitude.

Which brings me to yesterday's meditation.  Gate's says that the only thing we can control is our attitude.  That's not quite true:  we can also control, to a large extent, what we do.  But the important point here is that attitude is a matter of choice.   For today's class, I had two big choices to make:  First, whether to go at all.  Signing up for the 60 day challenge definitely tipped the bar on this one.  Last week I would not have gone.  It would have been so much easier, and as Gate's says, it is very easy to "say it is too difficult to make the hard choice today."  Actually, in some ways, that was the easier choice to make in practice today.  The other choice was whether to wallow in feeling bad, to ease into a suffering class, and to take some pity on myself, or whether I could decide to make the best of it, and to accept today's limitations.  And amazingly, by making that decision, everything improved.

Gates generalizes this idea.  He says that the obstacles that we encounter are the path itself, and that we continually face choices between life and death, between love and fear.  Continuing with yoga practice, especially when its easy to find excuses not to do it, is choosing life and love over death and fear.  And as he said in an earlier meditation (the one I skipped), the more we turn to the light, the more we choose life, the easier it becomes to continue to choose it, on and off the mat.

I'm still a day behind on the meditations.  I haven't even read Day 22 yet.  I will try to post again later.

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