Tuesday 4:30 pm with Rohit
I took Friday off because I hadn't planned on doing more than every other day while on vacation. Then Friday night we decided to go to Niagara Falls on Saturday. It's the fourth time I've been to the falls, once as a kid, and then three times in the last 10 years or so. And it's just as amazing as ever, and probably more amazing to me now than when I was a kid. (For some odd reason, what I remember from the childhood visit was some museum about all the people who survived a trip over the fall in barrels and other contraptions and a guy who walked over the falls on a tightrope. But I don't remember anything about the falls themselves.) Now, what I remember is the sheer power and beauty of the falls themselves. I especially like the rapids above the falls on the New York side. They make me feel both the terror and the allure of that incredible force.
So Saturday was shot, but for a very good cause. Sunday, I went tubing with a cousin and then the storms rolled in. We got off the lake with a little time to spare. It didn't clear, so no dock practice then. But no worries, because I was going to be back in the studio Monday afternoon, right? Wrong. We woke up at 3 am NY time to get a 6 am flight from Rochester. But we took off an hour late in Rochester, missed our connection, and then after a looong day at the airport, and another big wait on a runway, we finally got home at 11pm, instead of the 11am we had planned on. So I ended up missing four days in a row, the longest stretch since Christmastime.
Class started off well. The room was a bit cold when I went in, and I wanted to get shocked back into a real Bikram practice, so I set up in the hottest part of the room. Rohit even commented on it. I've been thinking about it, and I've decided that I have stuck to an area of the room out of a fear of the heat and lack of airflow elsewhere. So, I'm going to ignore that fear and simply set-up wherever. At least that's what I decided today. We will see if I stick with it.
The heat didn't bother me, and I got off to a nice start. I felt flexible and comfortable in Half Moon, and things got better. I started noticing that my knee was not bothering me at all in some postures where it had been. I had a really good standing series, especially toward the end in Triangle, and I was feeling very good.
My knee felt good in Tree, so I decided to give Toe Stand a go for the first time in a long time. I was very careful about going in on the left leg, and everything went fine. My balance was non-existent, but I went up and down with no problem. Right side, however, was not so good. About 3/4 of the way down, I could feel real tension in my right knee, but it wasn't worrying me that much. I went all the way down, and it was very, very intense, but I still would not have called it painful. It was intense enough that I decided to push myself up with my hands. But there comes a time when your hands pretty much have to transfer the work back to your standing leg, and I found that I simply did not have the strength in my leg to get all the way back up. By the time I realized this, it was too late to do anything about it, and I kind of hopped/fell out of the pose and restrained the knee.
It didn't feel that bad at the time, but it does now. It's not swollen, but I'm limping, and its definitely restrained in exactly the area where it has been tender for probably a couple of months now. So, its back to the drawing board, and maybe this time I'll learn the lesson. At least, I now know that if it feels that intense when I'm all the way down, I should just do a backward roll out of the pose. Live and learn.
Oh, and the floor series went really well too. If not for Toe Stand, I would have said the class was great, especially for the first class back.
The day 218 meditation is short enough that I'll just quote it:
In asana our eyes are open, our ears are open, our minds are open: our hearts are open. As the months turn into years, we realize that our practic is a long unfolding, an opening into promise. We learn to stand easy, firm, and relaxed, and our problems become the open window to opportunity.
I really like this. It gives me a good feeling about the future. I can already to the idea that asana practice involves an opening up of just about everything. But I'm still at a point where its more useful to measure my practice in months instead of years. So, I've got lots to look forward to. And I get a certain amount of consolation out of the idea that this "setback" I've had with my knee is actually an opportunity to learn more about how my body works, and how it will heal itself with time and dedication.