After a few great classes in a row, a tough one generally waits. Today's was like running full speed into the end of a train line. Just before class, I noticed a rash starting to develop on the top of my left foot. That's a sign that my immunity has dropped for some reason, and the class bore it out.
By awkward pose, I started to get dizzy. I could barely balance at all as a result. On top of that, I started to feel weak. I sat out a set of both Triangle and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I was even looking for excuses to leave the room. I thought I might need to go to the bathroom, but then I realized I was just trying to find a way to escape.
I've thought for a while that you can always get through class, if you just keep within your breath. Today put that to the test, and I made it. Once I got on the floor, the waves of dizziness either faded or didn't matter any more. I gathered myself together, and made an OK showing from Locust onward. It wasn't like other classes, where I found a second life. I was running out of gas by the end, but pleased that I made it through a very hard morning.
And, as usual, after class I felt better. And I've felt even better all day. So, whatever the problem was, I'm thinking that maybe the yoga knocked it out.
The Day 86 Meditation (I'm still one behind) describes how we are sometimes not ready to absorb what we read, and the truth behind it only dawns on us later, with more experience. When I was young, and studying philosophy, I often ran into writers who insisted that philosophy was for old man. That was hard to swallow as a twenty year old, especially one as precocious at argument as I was. And now I've come to think that, in one sense, this is true. My temperament now is more suited for philosophy. On the other hand, it seems harder now and takes more energy. Anyway, I think this is not only a corollary of what Gates is saying, but in my case, it is also an example.
I also think the same applies to all sorts of other things: music, the arts, food, basically any human activity that touches us deeply. When I was in my early teens, someone gave me Katy Lied by Steely Dan. I remember sort of listening to it once, and putting it away, totally unimpressed. About four years later, I came on it again while thumbing through my records (yes, I had records), and I put it on for a lark. It then became one of my favorite albums. Both were basically first impressions, but the second time I heard it, for whatever reason, I was ready for it.
And of course another example is yoga itself. I first got exposed to yoga when I was about 25. I joined a gym on the upper west side of NY. A dancer taught a class twice a week on stretching and alignment. This incorporated some postures from what I now understand is Power Yoga. I distinctly remember Triangle and Reverse Triangle. From her, I learned how to lock my knees, how to align my spine while lying down. And a few other things. I really enjoyed the class, but thought of it as being entirely physical. She got a job on Broadway and that was the end of that class.
Then again, I took some yoga classes at a gym here in Sugarland about 13 years ago. This was also about two weeks ago, and I really liked it. It turns out that that class was using the Bikram series. I know because I found a yoga book on my shelves about 3 months ago. Inside, there was a sheet with a list of diagrams of poses that I had gotten from the gym class. And sure enough, they were the 26 postures (no breathing exercises). I don't know why I didn't stick with those classes. Again, I thought the routine was just "stretching" at the time. And I think I just left the gym to concentrate on riding my bicycle.
So now, years later, I stumble into yoga for the third time (at least, there may have been some other isolated classes), and now for whatever reason, I was ready for it and it seemed absolutely right for me. I can't say why exactly, but I think enough about my attitudes must have changed to open me up to yoga. I don't know what paved the way, but I now think of my early exposures to yoga as a kind of preparation for what I'm doing now, and not as lost opportunities.