Sunday, May 24, 2009

100/143 -

Saturday 10:30 am with Connease

The room was packed.  It could be more crowded, but people are fairly inept at placing their mats, so it felt more backed than it was.  There were about 42 people.  I had a spot in the middle row, near the center, with good circulation from the fans.  That part was fine.  

But it seems I'm developing another pet peeve.  At least three people in the front row went down multiple times in the standing series.  This tends to sap the energy out of the rest of the room.  I know I probably did the same when I was first starting, but these people have been coming for quite some time.  Anyway, its my peeve and my problem.  There are no rules about where people go in our studio, and they weren't actually doing anything wrong.  But that didn't stop me from being just a little annoyed.  Next time, I'll try better to ignore it.

Class itself was pretty good.  Balance was a bit off, but not terrible.  I stayed with everything until Triangle, and then felt suddenly overwhelmed and took second set off.  (This is where my annoyance with the people in front probably got the better of me.  I don't know if I really "needed" to go down, or if I just had a "To hell with it" moment.) 

Floor series was better than standing series.  I got a good correction in the first part of Locust.  I still tend to bend my knees some in the one legged lifts.  I know better, but apparently not well enough yet.  I followed it up with a stronger than usual full locust.  Connease was giving the dialogue directly to me, with eye contact, and the feeling of being directly coached worked wonders.  I got up higher than usual, and felt real work going on in the middle back.  Camel was strong as well, and so were the final stretches.  My knee is almost flat on the floor on the left side in the final head to knee pose.

The first part of the Day 142 meditation talks about what Gates goes through when he encounters a new posture.  We Bikramites don't get that experience, unless we go to an advanced class or to some other discipline.  It's always the same 26 plus 2.  

He ends this discussion with the idea that karma is most clearly demonstrated on our mats.  And that's a point that I can relate to.  It's absolutely clear that I have to work through all the crap that I put my body through for 50 years.  And over time, it becomes more and more clear that I'm also working through crap in my mind as well.   Fixed Firm, for example, sometimes feels like a punishment on the west for having invented chairs.  And other poses are basically screaming:  "Aren't you HAPPY now that you spent all that time hunched over a computer screen?"

The part of the meditation I like most today is where Gates connects asana practice to the yamas and niyamas.  I'd like to think of these ideas as prescriptions:  

1) Nonviolence and surrender guiding us into the posture.  It's taking me a long time to learn this one, and its a lesson that bears repeating over and over.  Forcing yourself further than you can go is counterproductive, and as Lenette said the other day, you get further by surrendering anyways.  

2) Moderation coming out of the pose.  Or as I get told again and again:  No Crash Landings.  Same kind of warning comes repeatedly for coming out of Camel.  Gradual is better.  It builds strength and discipline.  And, again as Lenette says, most injuries occur because people come out of the posture wrong. 

3) Zeal in the middle of practice, contentment at the end.  This one I don't quite agree with.  Certainly contentment at the end.  But there are lots of places during practice to exercise contentment.  I've gained a lot simply by expressing gratitude after the standing series.  That's an exercise of contentment.  More and more, I'm thinking that that may a big purpose behind all of the short Savasanas in the floor series.  As I understand it, these multiple savasanas are fairly unique to Bikram, and I think Gates teaches a flowing style of yoga, which might explain why he says contentment at the end.

4) Nonhording of the stuff we don't need.  This is another continual lessons.  Mostly we don't need water.  We don't need to wipe sweat.  We don't need to fidget, adjust our mats, adjust our clothes.  And it goes deeper.  I certainly didn't need my little peeve about the people in front, and will try better next time to let it go.  And I don't need any frustration when I fall out of Standing Bow for the fourth time.  And I don't need to be thinking about things outside of class, or plans.  Etc....  This little tip is probably the most important, and the most difficult to master.  We are told again and again that Savasana is the hardest pose to truly master, and I think the reason that's true is because when its done correctly, Savansana is our truest expression of non-hording, of letting go.

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