First off I’d like to apologize to the folks who are probably getting tired of my yoga ramblings and are yearning for one of my typical idiotic postings talking about food or pop culture or some other drivel. Don’t worry, I’ve got a stack of material I need to address over the next several postings, so the idiocy will return!
As a lot of my readers/friends know, my life is in a sort of upheaval right now. It is what it is and I’m working through it step by step. One of the main reasons I started doing yoga ten days ago was as a result of these life changes. I’m really not that good at taking care of myself and that had to change.
Luckily for me, the process is in motion and yoga has really proven to be the pivot point around which I am changing my life. I quit smoking about two and a half weeks ago. Yeah, I know I’ve said that before — on this very blog even — but this one has the best chance of sticking that I’ve tried yet.
Usually when I make the move to quit I have a couple of days where everything is really good and then something goes awry. This time, I rode the anxiety pony for a week to keep me occupied. In midst of that I decided to sign up for yoga.
By the time I started yoga I was to the point where I usually start wanting a smoke again. I didn’t ever smoke an awful lot, it was just something I did when I hung out with friends. Once class began, though, the thought of a smoke sounded just about as appealing as drinking concrete.
I quickly realized that I had some work to go with my breathing capacity and breathing is a huge part of yoga. Different than previous quitting efforts, my brain is in 100% now. The thought of sucking down a few smokes while hanging out and then getting up early to do yoga makes me nauseous. This is the type of progress that makes me feel better about myself.
OK, now down to the nitty gritty. Yesterday was a hard day for me. My usual Wednesday has been a ritual practice for many years: a ritual that I have changed in the past couple of weeks, so the old anxiety pony was riding up on me hard on Wednesday for some reason. I went to class Wednesday morning (a Fire 60) and did pretty well. There was nothing too remarkable about it except that Fire continues to be the hardest class I have taken.
Amazingly, yesterday was also gorgeous. When it is almost 80 degrees in the middle of December, one must take advantage of it. Since it had been a while, and because it often helps reduce my anxiety, I took the scooter out for a nice ride. I went around the lake, I rode through Deep Ellum: that pony was still with me. That’s when it hit me: there is a Earth 60 class at 4:15. Dare I pull the double so early in my practice? Sure, why not!
Earth is one of my favorite classes. I can really feel it moving the energies around my body lifting away my worries and helping me to center myself. I know that sounds like a lot of New Age hokum, but it works for me. Part of me making myself “better” is tricking my brain into new behaviors.
I’ll tell you this about the double, that second class seems a lot easier. I was bending deeper into poses and my muscles were actually participating in what I wanted to do (not always the case). Sure, I still seem to lose track of my left from my right in class (stupid shiny mirrors are distracting. I’m like a parakeet that way), but it was a great class. I went to bed last night feeling victorious with myself.
Then came this morning.
This morning was my tenth class at Sunstone, so I decided to take a Fire 90. Luckily for me, the instructor who taught my intro classes was the instructor for this class. As a part of Sunstone’s program, practitioners are rewarded with different colored silicon bracelets when they reach milestones. The tenth class is one such milestone, so I got my band at the beginning of class. As cheezy as it sounds, it was a very fulfilling experience. Then came the yoga.
When I got up this morning I was a bit dizzy (not even sure why), but I thought it would all be ironed out when I got into the room. Boy howdy was I wrong. I did great through the first quarter of the standing poses, but any time I did anything to compress my chest, thus pushing blood into my head, the dizzies got worse and worse. I was getting frustrated with myself and made up my mind to push myself rather than take to the floor in savasana. About twenty seconds after that decision, I mentally smacked myself. That is exactly the type of “old” thinking that I was trying to break. Was I trying to hurt myself? Was I trying to prove to myself that I was “tough?” Idiocy is something that I excel at; and something I’m trying to reduce in my life. Savasana it was. I rested and focused on my breathing through a couple of poses and then got back up and re-joined the class.Â This continued several more times through the standing series. Rather than get upset with myself, I reminded myself that every day is different and each practice cannot compare with the previous. Another small victory for me and my self-rebellious brain.
The seated positions were much easier (aside from my usual issues).Â Part of me thinks that I probably over-worked myself by pulling a double yesterday, but this is all a learning experience.
A small part of me wanted to go to a Wood 60 class this afternoon, but I thought better of it. I’ve committed to a year with Sunstone, and there is absolutely no need for me to burn out like a meteorite hitting the atmosphere in my first month. I will push/reward myself with doubles (that’s really the only way to sanely think about them) as my practice improves. Kinda like an ice cream sundae topped with three quarts of sweat.