A few miscellaneous thoughts on last night’s yoga class:
- N’s classes are a pretty amazing workout. I feel challenged in a completely different way than I do in J’s class. It’s kind of humbling, actually, because I think it’s not hard for me to get puffed up about my yoga practice, and N’s class brings me right back down to earth where I belong. It doesn’t matter how bendy or strong you are – what matters is the intention behind the practice – but really, I am not so bendy or strong as I think I am.
- N’s class also serves to make me feel old. Last night, my back hurt, the backs of my knees hurt, my standing leg hurt all through the balance poses, and my arms hurt and wobbled all over the place. The arms are a strength thing, and clearly I’m working on that just by showing up, but the back and the knees could be age-related. N’s classes, while inspiring me to do more, work harder, and get stronger, also remind me to be careful, be mindful, and not hurt myself.
- Speaking of the standing leg in balance poses, N had us do another balance sequence that kicked my butt again. I think the issue for me is that we’re going from balance poses where we bent forward (like ardha chandrasana) into balance poses where we’re upright (like crane and tree). Plus, putting that much pressure on the standing leg for several poses in a row without a break is really rough, and N doesn’t give us time to shake it out after we come down. (I say “without a break” but I gave myself several breaks last night, and it was still really tough.) This looks to be just one more area where I need to practice ahimsa and be gentle with myself.
- When I find myself hurting in yoga class, or unable for whatever reason to keep up and do the pose as everyone else is doing it, I have a tendency to get angry. How long have we been holding this?!, I’ll think to myself, or Down-dog twist again? We’ve done it five times now! Last night it was really hard for me to practice tapas and work through the burn, and really hard to practice ahimsa and counter those negative thoughts with positive ones. Again, I have to turn my brain around and see this as an opportunity: a difficult yoga class is frustrating, but it’s going to make me stronger, and my negative thoughts are natural, but they give me a chance to practice some loving-kindness towards myself. If I need to rest, it’s okay to rest.
- I hate ardha chandrasana. I really, really do. I’m practicing it more this month and I’m improving, but still. It is just Not Fun.
- And speaking of Not Fun, someone near me in last night’s class was experiencing a gas problem. Now, I have nothing but sympathy for whoever it was – I’ve been that person before, we’ve all been that person – but it just makes the whole “deep even breathing” thing a little more difficult. Grabbing my lavender-filled eye pillow for savasana was a big relief, let me tell you.
i have a love hate relationship with half-moon. i want to be beautiful in that pose, but it plays to many of my weaknesses: hip alignment, balance, extension of the lats…
my teacher elliott gave me an adjust in that pose 2 days ago and i was in total heaven. when i can get there, it feels AWESOME. and the fact that i can get there with a few cues from him probably means it’s not as hopeless as it feels. half-moon at the wall is also my friend.
I’ve never tried half-moon at the wall (possibly because I’ve never been encouraged to do so in class and I’ve been avoiding doing the pose at home). That’s something to try this week.
If you have a harder time with the hips, use the wall as support for the sole of your raised foot; if you have a harder time opening out the torso, try laying your back to the wall. if you have a corner free, do both! 🙂