Friday, June 19, 2009

116/168 - Staying Close to the Program

Wednesday 8:15 pm with Rohit.

I'm falling way behind. I really didn't feel like going to class Wednesday. It's been unbelievably hot here -- well over 100 for several days in a row, but with humidity only in the high 70% or so. I don't know why, but the extra heat has not been making me look forward to the hot room. I was on the fence about going, and then at the last moment, I just did.

And I'm really glad I did. The class was a great mixture between being relaxed and intense, between being humorous and serious. Its amazing how, in almost every pose, Rohit brings up a new wrinkle to focus on. In Balancing Stick, he had us starting with our elbows really locked out, encouraging us to get them behind the ears and keep them there. I pay close attention to this detail in Half Moon, but by Balancing Stick I have managed to get a bit lazy with my arms. It made a big difference in the pose, and oddly, I think it may have made it easier to balance.

In the final stretch, he took us through a preliminary on the second set, so we could see what it felt like to keep the backs of our knees on the floor. He had us bend one leg over the other so the knees were on top of each other. Then we reached forward and grabbed the top knee, and started to lean forward and press down. This really isolated the stretch, and absolutely put the back of the knee on the floor. After doing this on both sides, he had us do the pose, and here he made us get the backs of the knees on the floor, and then reach up with the hands as much as we could and only then start to lean forward with the back, all before reaching with the toes. It was a much different approach than we usually take to get into this pose, but I was doing it better in the end, and I think others were too.

Rohit mentioned the yoga sutras. He explained how the first book on yoga contained 196 aphorisms, of which only three specifically talk about asana practice. Then he talked a bit about bringing truthfulness and non-harming to your Triangle. I think this was the first time in over a year that anyone has specifically mentioned any of the yamas in class.

On top of all that, I got a few very nice compliments. My alignment in Half Moon was good. I have thought that I'm getting there on this, and it was nice to hear. Then I got my standard compliment in Awkward, second part. And then in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, he said that my pose was "great," and that "men can't do that." All good stuff. The only bad part of class was a very slight struggle with reflux in the back strengthening series. The urge to spit up turned into the hiccups, which are better. But it's a neat trick trying to do Full Locust with the hiccups.

The day 167 meditation is about "staying close to the program." Distilled, this could be as simple as the Nike slogan "just do it". Sometimes that idea seems absurdly simple, and at other times it seems very profound. The last sentence of the meditation was totally appropriate for Wednesday: "Oftentimes when we need yoga the most, we want it the least."


thedancingj said...

That's right! "Just don't do it wrong!" :)

Pretty much every single time I really DON'T feel like going to class and I just physically force myself to go, I end up having a great class and being so happy that I went. Go figure, right?

That makes perfect sense about stick. It's physics! The more you are stretching in opposite directions, the easier it is to balance. That's where the balance comes from, the natural human tug of war. (Hehe.) You can't stretch your arms all the way forward with bent elbows.

Duffy Pratt said...

Of course you are right about Balancing Stick. But the dialogue doesn't really stress the set-up here, and it's so easy to get lazy, and especially here. You already know that your heart is gonna start zooming, and Triangle and Sweat Up the Nostrils pose are just around the corner, so its so easy to let things slip just a weeee bit.

And yes, when I really don't want to go, class tends to be great. But does that teach me anything the next time I really don't want to go????