Sunday, July 26, 2009


Saturday 9:30 am with Lenette

It was a big class with a whole bunch of newbies. There were 50 people and I was smack dab in the middle. The heat was fine, but the humidity was way high, and at times it felt like there was no air in the room. But even with all that, class was still good.

Lenette called me out a few times for rushing. I wasn't even aware of it, and I think it was a reaction to the humidity. I let it get to me a bit, lost some focus, and started anticipating. I think almost every other teacher would have let it go (probably not Libby, and definitely not Sherie). Lenette expects better from me, and I like that.

Once again I had really good backbends, and a good back strengthening series, especially Locust. I'm feeling even a bit more in my middle back in Camel. This pose is funny. Once I could grab my heels, maybe 4-6 weeks into practice, it became one of my favorite poses. I never had any of the dizzying/overwhelming feelings that seem so common here. It stayed that way for a long time, and was one of my favorites.

Then, for no apparent reason, it changed. I was doing better in the pose, but it started to feel harder and harder. It was just a strain with all the pushing forward at the hips. Instead of liking it, it became one of my least favorite poses. And it was one that would typically wipe me out.

And now, again for no reason that I can see, its shifted back again. Pushing forward just isn't a struggle the last few classes, and I really can feel what they mean by lifting the chest. And all in all, I just think of it as being fun now when for the longest time it was anything but. (Awkward is another pose that goes through cycles for me. For the longest time I just liked it, and recently its been really tough -- tough to the point where i've been tempted to ease off/cheat.)

In the day 205 meditation Gates has started running through how the five afflictions affect us on the mat. The first affliction is spiritual ignorance. On the mat, this manifests itself mostly in identifying ourselves with our results. Thus, a good class makes our day, but we kick ourselves for having a bad class. Or we compete with the people around us. Or we just compete with ourselves.

These are all natural tendencies for me, and I'm gradually shedding them. And for the most part I agree that its best to shed them, if possible. But here's the catch. If I can't beat myself up because my head is still a foot off the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching, then doesn't it also follow that I shouldn't celebrate when I finally do get my head on the floor? I like my breakthroughs, and I love small compliments (and big ones). But should I like them so much?


hannahjustbreathe said...

First, what is it about summer and newbies to Bikram yoga?? My studio is inundated with newcomers these days. You'd think the summer heat and humidity would REPEL people from trying Bikram...

Anyway. This idea of compliments/praise/acknowledging. I've thought about this a lot lately in my practice. (Again, another blog post idea...) Because, recently, my teachers haven't really been paying me much heed in class. Maybe that's because I'm there so dang much? Maybe it's because they're more focused on the newbies? Maybe it's because they don't see my progress the way I feel it? I don't know.

But, this change has enabled me to (mostly) let go of that inherent need/want I felt for recognition and compliments. These days, if a teacher calls me out---for something good or bad---I actually find it distracting. It throws me out of my little mental zone.

I think acknowledgement of your progress---by both yourself and your teachers---helps, the same way any compliment does in any other situation. But, is it necessary?? No, probably not. So long as YOU feel good, that's all that matters.

Sorry for getting so long-winded!

Duffy Pratt said...

I've gone through fairly long stretches of silence from teachers. At least, it felt long to me. First off, I take the slience to mean that there isn't anything really obvious that needs correcting. It's also pretty clear that the teachers get used to how I look in various poses. So, while I got lots of comments when Awkward first started looking good, now I get nothing. And that's just fine. And then, for people who are there a bunch, comments tend to come more often when we try a new correction.

thedancingj said...

Yeah, my "home" teachers basically ignore me 99% of the time. I could use some corrections for sure, but I don't think they know what to say to me. When i go to LA or take class from Diane or somebody like that, I get plenty of corrections.