As with life, there seem to be good days and bad days in yoga. Yesterday, was one of those days when you have a choice: get angry or get humble… or possibly both.
The teacher mixes things up a lot and we never quite know what to expect from one class to the next… nothing too crazy and maybe there is a system or a curriculum or something, but if there is, I haven’t been able to figure it out. Surrendering to that is part of the journey, I guess…
Here’s a quick snapshot from yesterday’s class:
We are in Downward Facing Dog position and Michael, our teacher, says, “Now we’re going to lower ourselves down onto our elbows and keep the hips up. Plank position.”
I struggle, but manage to get there.
Then he says, “OK… so… we’re just going to hang out here for a while.”
In plank position?
I can think of various positions I’d like to hang out in… and I guarantee you that none of them involve plank.
Maybe a position on a warm, sunny beach… holding a parasol drink… served by a dark-haired cabana boy. Oh yes… that would be nice…
I hear a far off voice say, “Breathe… Bringing the mind into the body…”
My mind was perfectly happy where it was, thank you very much… on the beach… with my cabana boy…
And I collapse into the mat.
I struggle to get back into plank, but it’s no good… My upper body refuses to cooperate and eventually the angelic sadist of a teacher wanders over and gently asks, “How are you doing?”
I know he means well. And he’s only asking because usually I don’t struggle quite so much… collapsing repeatedly with big, ungraceful thuds on the mat.
I mutter, “I’m all right…” Not wanting to admit that I’m exhausted. Trying to remember that part of the practice of yoga involves letting go of judgment... Breathing...
After class I do what comes naturally. I analyze.
Hhhmmm…. Here’s a thought: maybe spending an hour and a half in the gym for cardio and weights isn’t what my body likes before yoga class.
It somehow has been conditioned to think that when I push the exit turn styles of the fitness centre, it is done its physical training for the day. Then I scurry off to yoga class where I expect it to “hang out” in plank position for a while. And my body stubbornly refuses to cooperate with me. Imagine that! (At least we know the body belongs to me... being stubborn and all...)
Maybe next week I'll change things up a bit… Maybe I’ll even take that day off from weight training completely… We’ll see…
On a happier note, my chiropractor has been full of positive reinforcement for me this week. He’s said, “You’re doing better than 90% of the people I see with a similar condition. Keep doing what you’re doing! This is great!”
The treatment area is open and there are two people there at any given time. Sometimes I'm oblivious to what's going on at the other table and other times, I catch snippets here and there. I've been there enough times to know that he's diplomatic and positive, but a very straight shooter, as well. If you need "a talking to", you get it. So... I know he's not just spewing hot air when he gives positive comments... which makes them all the more effective, of course.
Today he made me laugh when he said, “You’re like a major renovation project… and we’re ahead of schedule!”
I never really thought of my health in those terms before, but it does seem to fit rather well. Little does he know that there was quite a bit of “renovation” that happened before I ever stepped into his office in May of this year. Nevertheless, his words are powerful encouragement that help to keep me positive and motivated... despite my failure to be a human plank and my inability to keep my mind focussed in yoga class.