Saturday, August 27, 2011

30 DAY YOGA CHALLENGE: Day 16-17, Class 13-14.

The storm is coming, yes.  The rain has come down outside in downpour spurts, trickling for a while and then repeating the cycle.  I hear the storm is around Virginia now and is about 8 hours away from hitting us hard.  Everyone is driving like they are in the middle of it already... and have been since yesterday when, big shocker, it wasn't even raining yet.  Panic is all around us and in the middle, I am in Savasana.

We talk a lot at yoga about being fully present and to "be where you are."  On the mat you find yourself in difficult postures... twisting, bending, arching back, balancing on one leg with your arms wrapped around your body like a pretzel in a bind... which demand your focus and concentration fully.  You breathe with each posture, taking note of how you are feeling that day, and you "do what is available to you" so that you do not push yourself too hard and cause an injury.

When you sit on the mat, you close your eyes.  You release all thoughts, memories of the past, and worries about the future.  You sit with yourself in peace and silence.   It matters not what has happened to you prior to stepping on to the mat and preparing for meditation, they are already done and they cannot be changed... so why waste your thoughts and time?  Right now is all you really have.  You breathe in calm and radiate peace and light, picturing the breath as it cycles from the center of your chest up to your third eye and back down again, creating a circuit.  You clear your mind and visualize your positive intentions like an aura around you, allowing it to radiate outward, cradling all living things.  You sit in stillness and allow vibrations of positive energy to radiate forth.  It is almost like you are floating on the energy.  Relax, focus, and enjoy the present's presents.  "Be where you are."

Last night's class was an overall success for everyone involved.  Having had a rough day dealing with the shenanigans of trying to get back into the swing of yet another semester at University, it was nice to step on the mat and leave all that outside in the muggy weather.  There was a fantastic amount of warming up and preparation during practice which was just what I needed in contrast with some of my previous instructors... and Iwona's accent was a nice break from what I call the "Yoga Voice" that too many instructors seem to think they are supposed to use.  (If you've been to a class where they did that "calming" voice where they drop to a low tone at the end of every phrase, you know what I mean).  Savasana was mellowing, rejuvenating, and leveling... enough so that when we walked outside, people verbally noticed.

I took this class two weeks ago and was not a fan.  However, to keep striving toward my goal, I needed to take it today... especially if classes for tomorrow are already canceled in anticipation of the storm.  Gee, thanks, Irene.  Luckily for my sleepy eyes, I have taken enough yoga and invested enough into my practice to find the motivation to continue.  The second the thought to not go crossed my mind during breakfast, I countered this thought by reminding myself not to have any expectations for my practice.  With a clear mind and nothing to anticipate, I was able to be fully present and take the class for what it would be.  I am happy to say that with no expectations, there was no disappointment, only satisfaction that I was once again on my mat with the fan gently blowing on me as I continued my practice.  I did not need to look around, I did not need to compare myself, this is my yoga practice.

I pushed myself as far as I could, understanding my limitations which today came in the form of Flying Crocodile (where you are in low lunge, leaning forward, with both your arms extended outward, one directly out to the side and the other passing under your leg to extend outward).  Trying the pose, I fell, laughed a little, and returned to a modified Crocodile as I shook my head and said, "Nope, not going to happen."  My neighboring yogi laughed in agreement, obviously not even going to attempt it since it was his first yoga class ever.  Other than that, the core and side workout today in addition to the workout on my shoulders and forearms from doing a modified version of Vasisthasana (Side Plank) were enough to get me through the weekend.  Savasana was relaxing but filled with all sorts of strange memories about which teachers I was assigned to in Grammar School and how the other 3rd Grade class hatched baby chickens... and then I completely dropped out of consciousness until we were instructed to come back to the room and I remembered where I was.  I have been relatively mellow since.

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