Thursday, June 25, 2009

122/175 - Feeling more alive

Wednesday 4:30 pm with Amy

Amy was especially bubbly. The teacher of her very first Bikram class was taking. I don't think Amy was trying to show off. She's just naturally happy, and she was extra happy because her first teacher was there. And her happiness tends to be infectious. The class had no newbies at all, and the energy was through the roof.

I had another in what is becoming a fairly long series of great classes. My elbow bothered me some, but didn't hold me back at all. Balance was very good. Triangle and Awkward were strong. My stamina was great, and I had fun all the way through.

The day 174 meditation begins with a quote from one of Gates' students. It's a testimonial that I wish I had written, and I think everything he says applies for me as well: "The impact of building core strength has been freeing in so many ways." This is one of the things I had not looked for at all. The feeling of balance and competence that comes with improved core strength really is liberating.

There are many, many things that I do effortlessly now that I would have paused to do before I started. To take a very simple example: the fence to the nearby dog park is four feet high, and always locked. Before yoga, I would have thought twice about going over it. Now I simply hop it without a thought (except I am sometimes amazed at how easily it now comes).

The other ideas are equally true. I feel more alive. I'm more connected to my hands and feet. With less practice than usual, I've become a better musician over the last year, simply from doing yoga. The focus on breathing and core strength has improved my singing. And yoga has helped me stop thinking in terms of me/my body. Even when I feel the distinction, I now thoroughly buy into the idea that we are in this thing together, and my body isn't something I am just saddled with, something to be overcome. And that feeling of connectedness is even more liberating than all the rest.


bikramyogachick said...

It's amazing the things we take for granted. Reading about you hopping that fence with such ease brought me back to a time, pre-yoga, when I weighed over 200 lbs, did no exercise and was miserable. I remember that getting up from the couch took effort, I had to heft myself up using my hands. Wow! Now I do everything with ease, bounding up and down stairs, even getting in and out of cars! A low car when i was that heavy was not fun! Now I slither out of my convertible with lithe limbs w/out a second thought! Thanks for the reminder of how far we all have come, thanks to this yoga. It helps keep me focused!

Duffy Pratt said...

I'll let my brother chime in on this subject about his back, if he wants.

There were all sorts of little things, like you say, that were just a bother. Basically anything that involved bending, squatting, or stooping. Awkward basically killed all of my squatting problems. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Bosco said...


I loved reading your summary of benefits received from doing yoga.
For me, as you mentioned, the biggest triumph has been with my back. As you know, I threw it out a few times in the first several months (always in Standing Head to Knee, always when my stomach was not properly flexed), but since then it has been fine, and the whole core system - stomach and back - gets stronger and stronger. (For any others reading, I had back surgery 24 years ago, in my early 30's, and have struggled with my back ever since, but with yoga I rarely am even aware of it.) And I just have a generally increased sense of aliveness with my whole body. My concentration has also improved greatly - I can zero in on someone speaking to me with much greater ability to not notice distractions. And better memory seems to go along with this. My singing is better, too - which is good, since I have just started taking some lessons as a prelude to auditioning for the Motab choir this summer. Breathing of course is much better - in fact, one of the first things my teacher said it that I need to breathe MORE OFTEN. My range has also gone way down; on a good morning I can hit a low B, and I have even gotten down to low A flat on one morning when I had a slight cold. I don't know if this is due to yoga or not.

This weekend Charlotte and I are up at Jackson Lake Lodge, north of Jackson Wyoming - for bankruptcy CLE. I will be back to the mat on Monday - thank goodness, I miss it - after what by then will be a week away. I hope I can get on a roll like you have been!

Later -