Day 37

Monday, November 5

I framed this day as the last day of really hard work for the week. I noticed my schedule has broken up into three days of “Okay, I got this” routine: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; and then four days of “Dig deep!“: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Friday sets it off, as I practice yoga in the morning with Janus for ninety minutes. Her class has proven to be the most challenging at the studio. Then, in the late afternoon, I lift weights with Nathaniel, and 5×5 never fails to test your limits. Finally we wrap it up with a relaxing (har, har) evening with Derek Black, D. Original.

I don’t feel the oppression that day. No, Janus’ class is challenging, but I am always grateful upon completion. I have actually been craving the weight lifting, and feel refreshed when completed. And how could I not look forward to Derek’s class? I am not sure if he is still my favorite instructor — right now I would say I don’t have a favorite — but there is still a strong sentimentality in attending his classes.

It is Saturday when the conflict triggers: waking up, almost assuredly sore, and knowing I have 90 minutes of pushing myself with Polina. It’s not just Polina’s occasionally grating style, but the people her class attracts. It’s a weekend, so it’s usually packed, and the practitioners usually know what they’re doing. That adds even more energy (and heat!) to the room, and always pushes me much further than the ego ever intended.

That is followed up by the lecture hours of teacher training, either on that very Saturday if I am unable to make the Sunday session (which is the case this week), or on Sunday. And chances are I’ll still wake up sore Sunday, wondering if I can give it my all for Lindsey. And then, just when I feel like I’m out of the woods, we come full circle to Janus’ class, a foray into the full Primary Series.

Suffice to say today was tough, but the class is always tough; that doesn’t mean anything. Heck, if anything this is easy, because in my personal practice I stay in each pose for five full breaths; we do nothing of the sort at Addicted to Yoga, because there simply isn’t time. They say it takes 90 minutes to do the full series, but not for me; I doubt I’d finish it in less than two hours. Stay with the breath, dawg.

The beginning is the toughest part. And it’s tough because you’re not warmed up. Simple as that. Once I’m warmed up, every concern and doubt goes out the window. I used to like Standing Sequence, but now I’m beginning to loathe it, as now I realize how challenging it is: intense pose after intense pose after intense pose after intense pose. Yet it’s expertly crafted, because you get a breather in Uttitha Parsvottanasana and the subsequent balancing poses.

And then we enter the seated, or Primary series. I am really starting to dig this series! Warrior One and Two, Dandasana, Paschimottanasana series, Ardha Baddha Paschimottanasana, Janu Sirsasana series, Marichyasana series, Navasana, handstands, the Konasanas, and so on… They’re all awesome! And I didn’t even mention my two favorite poses, Padmasana and Savasana.

It is challenging in a good way. You really do get out exactly what you put into it. There is no contemplating the ifs. The feeling when, after you busted your ass, and your shoulders are burning, and you lay down into Savasana… Observing your body gradually relaxing… As your breath slows down. As your heart rate decreases, and your limbs sink into the ground.

I may fear starting my practice, but my fear of not beginning is much more so.

My shoulders are getting stronger and more flexible. Soon I am going to be handstanding all over the place. And preparing my script has made me more cognizant of David Swenson’s modifications, which are absurdly useful. Now my hips will begin to open up even more; lotus is soon attainable.

Yet the science and study is so large that there is no hope of finishing. Every day the urge for my monkey mind to compare and contrast lessens. “I don’t care” is turning from abstract to realization. My heart is gradually opening, so slowly that, on a day-to-day or even week-to-week basis, I am hardly cognizant of it, but on a month-to-month basis becomes readily apparent.

I have a lot of respect for anyone who goes through the teacher trainings, no matter how much or little I like their class.

I am really excited at all the things I have learned and will continue to learn. I’m getting to the nitty-gritty and it’s pretty sweet.

Day 38

November 6, Tuesday:

Good practice. Not much to say. Hopefully all of them become like today. Looked forward to going all day. Went and felt pretty good. Same old same old, amirite?

Day 39

November 7, Wednesday:

OFF

Day 40

November 8, Thursday:

I didn’t go! Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe I need a break. Or maybe I’m just being lazy. Regardless, I decided to take the day off.

Day 41

November 9, Friday:

I was a punk.

Day 42

November 10, Saturday:

Time to stop being a punk. Did Polina’s class. Then teacher training.

I was really not wanting to go into teacher training. I have not been working on my script. I have been slacking. I haven’t done any mentor hours. And I slipped in my personal practice for the first time. Three missed practices in a row? Unheard of!

But I am my own worst critic. The voice in my brain that tells me it doesn’t matter, that tells me to practice ahimsa towards myself, first and foremost of all, is getting louder.

It is time to begin personal practice. That is really what I’ve been scared of.

The only thing to do is face the fear.

The fact of the matter is I am good. I know (most) of my shit. All these hours of personal practice have me feeling very comfortable in 90% of the primary series. Just trust in self and, most openly, open my heart! Yogi Ramesh was right. That’s what it’s all about!

Dave is a funny guy, man. I really enjoy his company, even if he does ramble. He makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. Laughter cures all ails. I can forgive everything after a laugh.

Just relax. In doubt? Breathe out. And practice. No matter what. 99 percent practice, 1 percent theory. Keep pushing. Do Level 2. Keep at it. Want it as much as you want to breathe.

Day 43

November 11, Sunday:

First day I told myself I would start personal practice (again). I used to do Sun Salutations every day, before I signed up for teacher training and reveled in the unlimited yoga.

It was such a mental hurdle to begin. It was (is) very cold this morning. As a result my body was extremely tight.

I did Sun Salutations and stopped. Bleh.

I’ve decided, instead of beginning with the entire series every day, which is a huge mental hurdle to overcome, I’ll first warm-up properly with 15 minutes of Kundalini yoga — something I have been meaning to make part of my daily routine for quite a while — and then do the 45-minute “short form” Swensen has in his yoga manual. That’s just an hour a day, must easier to do than telling myself I have two hours of yoga every day at 5am.

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