Cisco and Janna were talking outside the studio when I arrived. Cisco told me that he and his friend (Amy's first teacher whose name I do not know) had planned on doing a double, but that Janna killed them. So I made Janna promise not to kill me in the next class. So far, so good.
Class was moving along very well. My balance was really good. I got through three parts of Standing Head to Knee without falling out, and almost the fourth. I had good stamina and managed to focus my way through Triangle.
I've been toying around with different mantras when I feel I need to both focus and relax. "Just breathe" works pretty well. I've also liked "focused and effortless." In this class, I toyed with one that Gates had suggested for before class: "Thy will be done." And it works. I'm not going to try to guess why, other than to note that the phrase obviously calls for a kind of surrender. And it seems to make the most strenuous poses a bit easier. I may have more to say about this later.
Things were moving along very nicely. And then we came to Locust. And this wasn't one of my terrible Locust-dreading days. No problems with reflux and I was feeling strong and composed going in. My feet popped up nicely. Then Janna starts saying: Good Duffy, now bring your feet together and extend them. I try and make some progress. Then she says, Great Duffy, now just a bit higher. And I comply again, and nearly do myself in.
After the pose, Janna says "I know I promised not to kill you, Duffy, but I took it back for just the one pose. You still get 25 of the 26. And its amazing how high you got. You will be at 90 degrees pretty soon" Ninety degrees? It's hard to believe. For the second set, I tried incorporating her corrections from the start, and got nowhere near as high. Besides I was done.
After class, Janna said I was doing really great in the first set of Locust. So I told her I never have any idea how well I'm doing in that pose. She then put her forearm up at a really steep angle and said I was about like that. She thought about it and said, somewhere between 75 and 80 degrees, on the first set, and soon I should be all the way up with my chin forward. I'm pretty much dumbfounded about this. There are many days when I can't even do the pose, and others where I thought I had gone a little above 45 degrees, but I had no idea that I was this close. And I'm totally stoked just at the idea that I've made that much progress on what I think is the hardest pose.