My flexibility was off the charts, at least for me. And it was like that basically from beginning to end.
Half Moon -- I was down below 45 degrees with my arms, almost down to 30 degrees above horizontal. The form was right on, the stretch was along the outside curve and under my shoulderblades, right where it should be. This was a good start, but I had no idea what was coming.
Backbend -- I don't know how far down I went. When I came up, I didn't know what planet I was on. Amy was laughing at me, and said that's the way she feels sometimes when she can see the floor. After class she said she thought I was looking at the floor, I was bending that far back. My neck still doesn't bend that well, so I was still only seeing the ballet bar (I think). But my elbows were solidly locked, and my knees were as well, and this is by far the furthest I've gone with proper form.
First Forward Bend -- I could have locked my knees if I wasn't a bit afraid of hurting myself. My chest was really pressed on the thighs. Again, I felt like this was farther than I've gone before but I've got no way of proving it.
Standing Bow -- I made two parts without falling out at all. I hit another new high on the right side. The right side of this pose has been coming along for me. Better, I hit a dramatic new high on the left side, with my ankle over my head. On both sides, I could feel a really deep stretch in my shoulders. So, here I had breakthroughs both in stamina and in depth.
Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee -- This is the one I can really objectively measure. In all four parts, I went into the pose with my front leg locked. I kept it locked throughout, with my forehead easily on the knee, and even creeping up higher. I went in and out absolutely straight, with arms locked. I kept palms together and forward throughout. Here, it was not only a breakthrough, but for today at least, I was at the full expression of this pose. Amazing stuff.
The floor series didn't have the same shocking results, until the end. Fixed Firm was basically gone because of my right knee. Half Tortoise was so-so. Then Camel was great, very strong and with a really great feeling of compression. Cobra was also very solid. And then:
Rabbit -- My forehead usually comes down to touch my knees. Today I tucked more, and it came almost to four inches above my knees on my thighs. When I rolled forward, it was like the back of my head was on the ground. I frankly didn't know what to do with my spine bent so much. After class I asked Amy and she said she didn't know for sure, but would find out. Until she does, if I find myself with that kind of flexibility again, I should ease off.
So that's like a half dozen breakthroughs in a single class. Go figure. Is it the challenge? Is it the full moon? Is it my lack of sleep and some relaxation that goes with being generally tired? Or maybe, its going back to the evening class for the first time in a while?
The day 189 meditation is about contentedness on the mat. Today is probably a bad day for me to focus on this. When the practice is treating you to breakthrough after breakthrough, its pretty easy to be content. I'll say this much, however. These breakthroughs didn't come because I pushed for them. Rather, they came with almost utter ease. And for this day, at least, I was not at war with myself in any way at all. That's what Gates says lies at the heart of being content on the mat.
Before, I've sometimes fallen out of poses when I've made astonishing advances. I got to a certain point, and I start thinking to myself "Holy shit, I can't believe I'm doing this." And then I'm not. Today, there was none of that during the poses themselves, even in Standing Bow. Instead, the moments of utter astonishment came after I had done the poses, not during them. During the poses, for whatever reason, I was just staying with the poses and with my breath. And so, maybe today is a good day to bring up contentedness after all.