Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Sunday Off
Monday 10:30 am with Sherry
Tuesday 6:30 pm with Rohit

Monday's class was basically good. I skipped one set of Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, but otherwise held in and through my "sticking points." The only other stuck area was one set of Rabbit, where I felt like I couldn't breathe, and came out early.

I held myself back on Monday by getting stuck on something else. For some reason, I became acutely aware of other people coming out of the poses early. Sherry tends to count down at the end of poses -- Five, four, three, two, one, release... In half moon, I noticed that nearly everyone was popping up somewhere between two and one. This bugged me, and I couldn't stop myself from paying more attention, and the more attention I paid, the more it bugged me. By Camel, I saw people in my peripheral vision popping up somewhere between five and four.

I know this shouldn't bother me. If people want to cheat themselves, well, its their practice. But it bugs me all the same.

After class, Sherry asked what I was laughing about during class. She said that I came out of Camel one set and I was laughing. The really cool thing is that I didn't even remember it, and I don't think I was aware of it. The best answer I could come up with is that sometimes you've got a choice between melting or laughing at yourself, and if I can, I try the laughter. That's how I usually feel about it, but I can also usually remember those times. I think this was something different and much better. Apparently I was just really happy to be doing Camel, or coming out of it.

Today's class had a different satisfaction. Libby took class, and just before she asked where I had set up and parked her mat next to mine. I always like practicing a teacher, so that was cool enough on its own. But I was also flattered and a little stoked by her wanting to practice next to me. It's as nice a compliment as I've received in a while.

And practicing next to her made class fun. I always like being next to someone with great focus, and I felt through the standing series like I was feeding off her energy. I didn't skip any poses for the first time in a while. And after class, Libby thanked me for pulling her through, which I thought was funny because I was thinking exactly the same thing -- that she had pulled me through. I guess that may be what it means for people to feed off of each other's energy, and for the sum to be greater than the parts.

The challenge in this class came from drinking too much iced tea at lunch. I started thinking about leaving the room around Standing Bow, but I put it off. It got really bad in the floor series, and peaked in Floor Bow, where I could feel painful pressure in my bladder. By then, I thought it would be silly to leave, and nothing else really puts direct pressure on the area, so I stuck it out. I hate leaving for any reason, and in this class I really don't know if I made the right decision or not.

The day 273 gives us a third pranayama exercise. Rather than pause halfway on the inhale, Gates suggests pausing halfway on the exhale. So this one goes: Inhale, pause, exhale half, pause, exhale remainder, pause, repeat... The other advice here is to pay attention, be mindful, notice the differences between a good day and a bad day, etc... I haven't tried this at all.

The last exercise is much harder than I thought it would be. Taking long breaths is just an extension of what we do all the time. But pausing in the midst of an inhale is not something I've done very much at all. It takes a great deal of focus and control, and even then it doesn't feel at all natural. I've noticed that the first part of an inhalation tends to come deeply from the belly. Then the second half seems to involve the chest more than the stomach. I have no idea if that's how it should be, but that's what I'm observing.

I'm looking forward to the double exhaling. I'm guessing that I will find it easier than the interrupted inhale. We do double exhales on the sit-ups. And the final breathing exercise is a multiple exhaling exercise. Those may provide a connection for this exercise. I'll try to report on it later.

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