Tonight was another in a series of tough classes. My stamina seems to be getting worse, and I can't figure out why. I'm either in a slump of some sort, or maybe I've got some low grade illness that is not otherwise apparent. Somewhere around the third breath of pranayama, I get a sense of impending weakness. By the end of the first set of Awkward Pose, I start looking forward to Eagle, because that's not so bad. Then, I try in Eagle and I can make it because party time is coming.
Then the balancing series ends up being sort of a break, mostly because my lower back is tight, and I fall out alot. I've gone backwards in all of these poses recently, and I think it's really from some tightness in my lower back which will work itself out.
Then comes the Separate Leg series. The first pose used to be a rest, but I've really been trying to open up my hips recently, so spreading my legs really wide, and it had become one of my harder poses. Triangle I still like, because I can do it. It's hard, but very satisfying, and then, because I tried so hard in Triangle, the Head to Knee pose becomes a real struggle. By the time I get through it, I have been feeling wiped out recently, sort of like I felt the first couple of weeks of practice.
Then the floor series is better, if I don't start cramping up. Today, I didn't. I had some exhaustion issues, but for the most part they didn't get in the way of what I was doing. And I got all the way down for the first time in a long, long time in Fixed Firm.
Today's meditation was more like a much needed pep talk. Basically the idea is that in the long run, a spiritual practice has much bigger payoffs than any of us anticipate. Basically, Gate's is putting a really positive spin on the Rolling Stones line "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need." For the most part, we don't really know what is good for us, and Gates insists that spiritual practice will deliver what is good for us, which may be much better than the things we think we want.
The caveat on this is that spiritual practice means more than doing your poses, or meditating. It means acting right, trying to follow the yamas and niyamas. The hopeful part is that, according to Yates, every right action, every step in the right direction, gives more energy and makes it easier to take the next step. I guess it sort of acts like a snowball rolling downhill. I've found that to be true about being honest in general. The more honest you are, the easier honesty becomes, largely because you realize you don't need to protect yourself with lies (and lies don't work that well anyways). I don't have any reason to doubt that this applies elsewhere as well, but I can't vouch for it yet, either.