What one thing did I learn from the workshop, more than anything else? If anything, it's that I let me practice fall into something of a rut. It's not that my practice was bad before. I would have said it was pretty good in many ways. But the workshop definitely showed me all sorts of new ways to push my limits. As a result, this class felt very fresh and new.
Also, since I was leaving a lot on the table before, without really being aware of it, this class also beat the crap out of me. Let's fact it, trying to do each pose to the best of your ability is just plain hard. And while I wouldn't say that I had done things to put myself into a comfort zone, it might be correct to say that I permitted myself to sink into certain areas of tolerance.
Here are some brief comments: You know how we hear that Bikram calls Balancing Stick your daily heart attack on a stick. Well, he should also call the first backbend your daily 10 second hallucinogen. When I come out of this pose after going really deep, its like I don't even know where I am anymore. Amy called change, and I was still going down, so I did until I fell out. Pulling the arms back really makes a difference. And if I keep this up, I might even see the floor sometime this decade.
Second part of Awkward really hurts the bunions. I wonder if there's any correction or adaptation for those of us with huge bone growths on the sides of their feet.
On the first part of Standing Head to Knee, I can legitimately start dropping my elbows now. I did this for the first time in a class, and Amy looked really happy about it. The form was there, and it felt good.
I spread my legs as far apart as I thought was possible in Separate Leg Stretching. I still didn't get my head on the floor. But rolling forward, it felt like I might be getting closer. So I did a hand check and I'm within a couple of inches here. Again, it looks like head to the floor might happen this decade.
I really compressed in Rabbit going down. And then tried the pulling thing the way I saw it. I think it was better. The stretch felt deeper. It also gave me unbelievable cramps in the upper abs.
There are lots of other little details that I tried, and I could see how they might help. But overall, the amazing benefit from the workshop is simply the extra enthusiasm it's given me for the practice. I know that, eventually, I'm supposed to transcend these little boosts. But there it is, so I might as well acknowledge it and take advantage.
The day 249 meditation again talks about savasana. It says how, as beginners, we are so thankful for the long savasanas. But that after getting more used to the practice, we are more likely to be thinking ahead in the day after the end of class, and so we tend to rush from the room and skimp on Savasana.
I don't think this observation is as true in Bikram. For the most part, beginners are dashing out of the room as fast as they can, not to get on with the day, but simply to escape the heat. The people who stay for five or eight minutes, or even more, tend always to be the same people, and for the most part, I've noticed that they are steady practitioners, and they are also people who tend to bring much discipline to their practices.
I've gone both ways on this. Gates talks about Savasana giving the sense of ending to the class. Again I don't think that's quite right in Bikram. After all, we get lots of Savasanas, so they aren't really the end of anything. And I wouldn't make as much of it being corpse pose as Gates wants to in this meditation. After all, in Hindi philosophy, death is just a transitional state. It's not an end. In Bikram, we're told that Savasana is where the body gets to absorb the benefits. That's as good an explanation as I need. I do know that I feel better later if I allow myself a longer Savasana, and that should be all the proof I need. The class - with preparation, driving, class, cool down, and drive home - lasts for just over two hours. An extra few minutes in Savasana simply shouldn't be that big a deal. And if it is, its proof that there's something wrong elsewhere.