Class was challenging and good. Teacher's timing has become a big mystery to me. In this class, I felt like the standing poses did not last very long. I didn't check the clock, so that was totally subjective and probably wrong. By the end, we were running behind, and the savasanas were being cut short. I can't account for it. The only thing I can figure is that the poses were being held for as long as usual, and they just felt short for some reason.
Anyway, there was a huge difference between this class and the last class where the savasanas got cut short. This time, I simply rolled with it, and it didn't bother me at all. It's just how the class was, and it was fine. My stamina was pretty good, but I skipped a set of Triangle. I have to keep this in mind, because it almost feels like I'm in danger of letting that become a habit. Otherwise, I can't think of anything really memorable about any of my poses -- oh, I got a compliment in Rabbit, which is always nice.
The day 164 meditation talks about asana teaching us to reinhabit our bodies. At first, this sounds sort of weird, but I think there's an awful lot to it. Gates talks about beginners' hands. They are all over the place. I've noticed this as well -- hands and feet. If I want to get a good measure of how strong the energy will be in a class, all I have to do is scan the mirror for peoples' hands in the set-up for half moon. If I see a bunch of steeples, hands gripped firmly together, pointing straight up, composed by tight -- then I know it's going to be a good class. But often, what I see is hands that don't know where they are or what they are doing.
Same goes for feet. The dialogue says something like "heels and toes together, touching nicely." What you get is all over the place. I especially get a kick out of the people who do half moon with their feet about 2-3 feet apart, and then start Awkward pose with them about 2-3 inches apart.
Over time, yoga gives us body awareness. The shape of the hands starts to matter. So does something as simple as feet flexed, or pointed, or relaxed. I tend to think this detailed awareness works from the outside in -- from the fingers and toes to the core. I'm constantly amazed at how much improvement comes from focusing on the extremities, and not so much on the hamstrings or the shoulders.
Take Rabbit, for example: there are three things that I tend to focus on to really improve the pose. One is bringing forehead to my knees. That's not such a big deal for me anymore, but it was for a long time. The second thing is really pulling on my heels, which involves mostly my hands. And recently, I've been focusing on bringing my heels together and having them touch. That slight motion in the heels does incredible things through the back.
It's that sort of attention to detail that, as Gates puts it, reawakens our sense of our bodies. And I just love his closing analogy. He says that we are like Sleeping Beauty, and the asana are like the prince whose kiss will breath life back into us.