I’m not entirely sure how I made it through yesterday, although I basically want to die of soreness right now and want to sleep and drink gallons of water.
So Noah Maze came to one of my two studios this week and I wanted to take as much advantage of the opportunity as possible. Two of the classes were kind of outside of my comfort zone in terms of what I can do, but I took yesterday off and did a Warrior vinyasa class in the morning and a hand balancing intensive in the evening.
I am feeling very humble today, but proud of myself for taking the time to try these classes. My warrior class was really about strength, openness and flexibility and I feel pretty decent about showing up and pushing myself in standing leg poses – which is most definitely where I feel most confident in my yoga.
Although I cannot get my head this low or my arms this high, I do so, so love humble warrior or Baddha Virabhadrasana.
Look at her head!
Even though it still has the same pulling through the shoulders and pushing/scissoring through the leg actions as Warrior I and II, there is a softness in the bending and lifting back (which for me REALLY requires a fullness of breath in my upper body and a relaxation in the lumbar and thoracic spine). Also when one is sweating the insane, insane amount I sweat, its kind of a relief to bend over and let it fall off.
A word on sweat. I could seriously mind game myself into thinking that my sweating is about my weight, but it would be just that. BOTH of my parents were totally Division 1 schvitzers (Yiddish for sweat), my sister is a world champion and I was a sweater at all but my eating disordered thinnest.
So this is just me. It’s why I bought the mat I bought and the mat length towel. It’s why I pin my hair and tie it into a bun. It’s just how I am. So I sweat a lot. That’s me. I have done what I can to compensate for it so I don’t fall over or get sick, but otherwise, I just wish someone would cool the room more and sweat it out.
My evening class was a reminder of how long this process is, an exercise in vision as it was. And here is where the mental power of yoga (and, fine, law for that matter) kicked in. I am in some proximity to crow, the easiest of all of the folded hand balances and handbalanced head stand. I’m not sure what that proximity is, but it’s enough that I feel like I am actually able to practice these poses. Everything else, I am working on the component parts, the intro steps. And I accept that. I think it would be wildly easy to get pushy and competitive with myself about these poses, but I did that with handstands, which has gotten me exactly nowhere. I know I need lots more core strength, lots more hamstring and hip openness and some amount of weight loss for the ones I can practice. For the ones I can’t, I need to work the core, arms and legs skills before moving on to the next step.
Here is where the advice: keep your gaze on your mat (similar to incredible advice I got about my practice of law 6 years ago – worry about your own work) is my mantra. The biggest breakthroughs I have had in yoga have come through practicing pieces and putting it together; practicing above my skill level (I routinely say my mixed levels at home studio is intermediate other places), but working at my edge; and thinking of this as a life practice. In this way, all of the stress and mental mistakes I have had practicing law has really helped me save myself some grief. When I started law school in 2003, I didn’t believe I could write a summary judgment motion on my own and now I do it all the time. In between then and now has been years and years of practicing my writing, research, and analytical skills. Failing and starting over. But working towards my own goals and not as a part of a pack.
Practice, practice, practice. But keep your eyes on your own mat.