Such a tremendous contrast from Wednesday to Thursday. The room started out really hot and dry: 115 degrees and 16% humidity. Lenette played some tricks and eventually got it down to 11o with 28 % humidity. Even though at times I felt like I was being baked, it never interfered with the practice. Instead, the entire practice was quiet, peaceful, and delightful.
My balance was good. I made it through two parts of Standing Head to Knee without falling and with a really solid, locked out leg. And the rest of the standing series was strong as well. My stamina was good.
Locust was the best its been in days. Lenette said that once you get up as high as I do, it helps to move your chin forward. This allows the shoulders to press down a bit more, and gives better leverage. I didn't really get the hang of it, but I will definitely keep it in mind. The pose has been my nemesis, and I would be delighted if it were the first pose that I pushed to full expression. (Well, I guess I'm close in Awkward and Triangle, but they were never that hard for me.)
It's hard to put my finger on what the difference was between the two days. It would be tempting to blame the humidity, but I don't believe it. Rather, I think that something was off on Wednesday, and whatever that was, it provided an opening which allowed the humidity to get to me. And whatever it was, it was gone on Thursday morning.
The day 140 meditation discusses the attitude we bring to the mat. On the one hand, Gates mentions "cherished fears." I love this idea, that not only do we have fears, but there are fears that we nurse, that we cherish, that we become attached to. I've become too attached to fear that I might injure myself, or that I might lose stamina near the end of standing series. Recently, I've developed something of an attachment to my fear of spitting up. I've done it before. It's not the end of the world when it happens, but still I let it sometimes interfere with the entire beginning of the floor series.
Together with the fears, Gates lumps doubts and questions. These things all interfere with the energy that we should be putting into the postures. It's like Rohit put it the other night -- struggling (which can include dealing with fears, doubts and questions) saps energy. To the extent that we dwell on fears and doubts, we are also misdirecting energy.
The answer is both simple and perhaps difficult. It's simply a matter of faith. Or as Lenette put it in this class, its allowing yourself to surrender. She said that the biggest progress comes at surprising points because progress depends on surrender. When you stop fighting the pose, and let yourself simply BE the dialogue, you will make astonishing progress. And I've found that to be true. Gates says that this faith, this surrender, comes simply from remembering that things will work out with time. This may also be true. And it does sound simple. The difficulty, I think is converting this idea from a kind of abstract knowledge into a habit of being. That's part of the reason why yoga is a practice, and not a math quiz.