Saturday, February 14, 2009

33/45 Action and Results

Friday 10:30 with Danielle
Saturday 9:30 am with Janna (?)

Friday's class was good, and I felt great all day afterward.  I can't remember anything specific about the class now, which is always a good sign.  I do remember that it flew by.

Today we had a teacher I haven't seen before.  She was subbing, and taught regularly at the studio before I started, but is now in graduate school.  She had a very good pace, and a good tone.  I liked her.

The class however, was really tough for me, especially at the beginning.  I started feeling bad around awkward pose, and basically toughed it out.  In triangle, I really felt like going down, even though I wasn't breathing that hard.  So I resisted, and made it through the whole standing series.  Then, on the floor, everything opened up and class got much better.  In the end, I felt good about the whole class, because it was one where I really felt like bailing out for an extended period, but I managed to keep myself together throughout.  Just doing that let the yoga work its magic, and I've felt much better for it through the rest of the day.

In some ways, this connects with Gates' meditation for yesterday.  Basically, he emphasizes the practical aspect of yoga.  It almost reduces to the Nike slogan: just do it.  I've said before that no matter how bad you feel, you can still do the Bikram class.  You just do it as well as you can given how you feel.  Today, I put that to the test, and it worked out well.

In yoga, action comes before theory.  You don't learn alot before starting to practice.  You don't have to put yourself through any kinds of preparation.  You prepare for it by actually doing it.  And I think, in the end, that practice and theory are supposed to become one.  That means, if you aren't feeling well, like today, the answer is not to wait until you feel in the mood to do yoga.  Instead, you do it and, at least for today, it puts you in a better mood.

Today's meditation seems to go on a different track, but its actually remarkably similar.  Gates talks about becoming too attached to your goals.  When I'm having a bad day, or don't feel like being in the room, I can still practice.  The key is not carrying the same image of where I should be in the poses to every class.  Fixed Firm has taught me about this more than any other pose.  I never know beforehand how far I'm going to get in this pose, and I've learned to deal with the variability.  I still get tremendous satisfaction on the days I can get all the way down.  But, I'm slowly learning to take satisfaction from  a day like today, where just getting my hips near the floor gets a really big stretch in my insteps.  

And, on the days when the entire practice seems really hard, I can take satisfaction simply from doing my best, and feeling better afterwards.  It's taken me almost a year to start to learn this, and I will bet that I need to relearn it from time to time, because its so easy to really want to make progress in a pose.  But, as Gates says, over-attachment to progress and results is a sure-fire recipe for injury and burn-out.  My sciatic nerve, my left knee, and my hips can all attest to that.

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