Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Days 68 thru 75: Feeling tired, pushing forward and letting go

Many classes, and many new experiences. Hot 90's, the 2 hour advanced class, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Yin. Two doubles. All very different. All very wonderful. Range of emotions: elated to frustrated. Energy levels? From excess to non-existent. Little posting action as I still haven't made the call to Comcast to set up my internet. It will come, and all will be back on track. A break from my steady access to the interwebs is wonderful. My time isn't lost in hour-long blocks, starring at anything I move to: what is the chemical formula of a common antidepressant? Who makes the best hammock? How do you grow peyote? Wikipedia is my new teacher of all subjects.

There is much to talk about, much to discuss, but I'll save the depth for when I make it up north this weekend. I'll have enough time to really lay out my ideas and recap all that has happened the last week.

Classes: Hot 90, Hot 90 & Advanced, Hot 90, Ashtanga, Hot Silent Flow, Samana (Vinyasa), Yin & Hot 90
Instructors: Jennifer H., Kate C, Roland, Yvonne, Renee, Claudine and Tiffany
Studios: Open Door and Blue Lotus
Wins: Here & Now.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 63, 64, 65, Sixty Six...and Sixty Seven: Life Is Busy, So Hold On

Five more days of yoga; five more long evenings; five more days of moving; four more shifts at work; two more classes; one more lab and one more beautiful day. Days sixty three to sixty seven were a blur of work, school and tending to a sick sibling. Long nights running around Raleigh, setting up a new apartment, trucking my belongings around town...finding time to write about my Mala took a back seat (the lack of internet at my new abode also contributed to the hiatus).

I'm not really sure what I am moving into with my yoga practice. My days are varied, just as they should be. I find myself a little happier this week; lauging a little more and worrying a little less. I smile for longer. Though I haven't had nearly enough sleep, and my life was filled with hauling and unpacking, I feel better. My brain is taking all the work my body is doing and noticing the effects. My body is telling it to slow down, don't stress. Take it easy. Breathe. I'm asking myself, "what do I really have to worry about?" It's usually a lot less than you imagine.

This week is all about slowing down. Stopping randomly on a walk to notice something new. Lingering at a place to really absorb my surroundings. Forgetting about a schedule as I really talk to someone...and taking the time to listen.

My resolve is just as strong, but my mission is clearer. It's not about showing everyone how tough I am. This Mala is about me. My yoga. My time. My journey. My Life.

Classes: Hot 90, Hot 90, Hot Silent Flow, Samana, and Hot 90
Instructors: Jana, Claudine, Renee and Suzanne
Studio: Open Door
Wins: A new apartment; a calm outlook; a very nice smile.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 61 and 62: Don't Get In The Way Of Yourself

I don't have time. No, not today. Too busy. Work. I'll make it up. Really, it's just too crazy. I have a million things to do...ugh, dammit. All the thoughts that race through my head on a busy day. So many, I barely know how to make enough room to breathe, let alone truck it to class. But I do. And I did. And I will. There have been a few times this challenge where yoga had to take a backseat - school, the flu and some poor timing - and that is to be expected. If it was so easy to finish everything you started, how many more people would be happy and healthy, but utterly bored. It's a Mala, an adventure, some even call it a challenge for a reason. Motivation, continuous motivation. Drive. Get up and go. It's what I look forward to, no matter how much my I-can't-no-not-enough-damn-rush-no-rush-shit-rush-ugh gets in the way. I can do this. Breathe, take a step and go to class. Don't punish yourself for an accidental class "oops, I missed the last one!", but don't quit before you even leave the house. Think of how much you love that feeling post class, that amazing yoga high we all secretly (or openly) crave. That exhilarating rush right after savasana, as we shower off our sweaty bodies and take strong, slow inhales. This is why we do this, day after day. To feel more, to know more, to explore more.

And after that little motivational rant, I want to talk about progression-mainly depth. That last few classes, I have been teetering in and out of the emotional ride from where's-my-razor-blade which included two, yes 2, dos, deux spontaneous tear sessions. As I depart that wonderful, depressing, reach way too deep too fast part of the Mala, I find new depth in my postures. New depth, without sacrificing my alignment. It's true, each day is different...not better or worse (though sometimes those labels come to mind first)  I notice now how strong I can root my lower body to really fall back in that first backbend; my chest inflates first in camel, spreading my ribs; I know the feeling of my ankles pressing together and feet firmly down as I roll my hips up and over in rabbit. Depth, digging deeper and releasing more. I'm getting a grip on it now. All of my other activities are still throwing pot holes at me, but I'm learning how to manage the bumps or gracefully avoid the impact...gracefuly? maybe just effectively...a modicum of grace. But I feel it. The changes are there and growing each day.

Class: Hot 90 & Hot 90
Instructor: Mechelle & Jana
Studio: Open Door
Wins: A new apartment; moving; large balconies; calm spaces; new depth; the most magical lavender towels that Jana never forgets; venting with friends; talking like an adult; talking about adult activities; talking candidly, though remembering the humor.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 60: Do Your Yoga

I went to work. Catie rebalanced my energy with such much needed needles (thank you thank you). I went to the old place to pack. My swift steed carried me to Open Door. I did my yoga. And that is all I have right now.  

Class: Hot 90
Instructor: Suzanne
Studio: Open Door
Wins: full, but not too crowded; strong series; almost no H20; learning to relax my tongue from the roof of my mouth...weird; oranges and all citrus fruits; family; new apartments; catharsis.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 59: Officially 3 days behind, including today.

Moving and hauling and trucking and lugging and cursing. Today was about moving.

Tonight will be 45 minutes of yoga at home before bed. This week will be tough, so I'm throwing in all three doubles...just to make it easier? Once the move is settled and this week is over, I need to write about food, camel pose, tears, quality cutlery, a good frying pan, growing herbs, composting in an apartment, loneliness, drive, control, and so many more topics.

Class: 45 minutes of the Magic four + plough, shoulder stand, and some full locust meditation
Studio: One last night in my old apartment
Instructor: Me

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 58: Dear Dude, I'm dropping my letter in the river. I hope it finds you.

Packing up my belongings, sorting through the piles labeled 'summer' and 'lovebug' and 'forgotten,' the heaps of clothing and scattered socks - the ones that never quite match - is filling my mind with memory and foresight. It's opening up a channel, and that channel brought me to the pen and paper of today...the computer. And then I wrote a letter, but I'm not sure who it's to. Maybe my future self, the one of tomorrow or 500 days after tomorrow. The me that finished my Mala odyssey; the calmer me that learned to use the mind and body together. The me of the future. Maybe it's for that me.

Dear Dude,
Life has been a strange ride the last few weeks. It's been a perpetual dive into the deep dark places that we can barely ever venture to, let alone choose to explore. Nervous breakdown? near check. Emotional outpourings? definite check. Spontaneous fits of laughter, tears, anger and utter calm? for real check, check, and check. check. Monica says it's the emotional stages of the yoga. When she was in teacher training, everyone went "nuts" after about 40 days. People would be randomly crying or shouting the nastiest vulgarities at fellow yogis. Monica said the worst day was when everyone lost it and was one breath away from falling into the pit of super nasty anger, when the girl next to her shouted "get the fuck off my mat!" Apparently, her foot grazed it during one set of triangle. I'm sure she responded with a "whoa, dude," probably all she could muster. I love Monica. And her dude comments.
The yoga has been good, though. I guess what I'm trying to explain (in this little flashback) is that yoga shouldn't just make you feel 'great.' Maybe it is supposed to make you feel like shit. or tired. or thirsty. or moody. or sad. Maybe it's just supposed to make you feel something. And I kind of like that. I like that one day, I'll feel like crying. I'm cursing the heat and the people around me who are weak; the yogis falling out of poses and taking long breaks; the ones guzzling water regardless of others and making dramatic sighs. Some days I fixate on them. I wonder why they're here; why are they bringing such awareness to their struggle. It will plague my mind for most of class. I'll obsess over one student, one girl, one early-20 something petite english major as she struggles with each breath. Everything she does becomes a moment to judge her; reduce her to near nothing; to simply watch her fail. Why? Why? Am I there for her? Am I her witness? Am I her reflection, the archetype of a yogi that she holds herself to? Of course not. I'm just lost in a room, allowing anger and distraction to fill me up. And that's alright, too. There's no right way to feel. All I can do is accept that I feel that way, and hopefully understand it. If I can learn from it, then I'm glad for it.
The Mala is changing me. Physically, my body is breaking down, shedding material that I don't need. It's like gutting an old building, ripping out the cheap insulation and really looking at the foundation. I got so thin, I was worried. Now, I'm replacing that crap with positive growth. I'm strengthening my core; rebuilding my house. My mind is clearer. I'm not happier, or more alive. I'm just more aware. And my mind is catching up to my body.
I don't know why am I writing this all to you. I'm not even sure it is for you. Life. It moves. People drift. They start a new part of the novel. I get that. I've always gotten that...maybe a little too well.
I guess I just wanted to write. Put thoughts in a form I could share. And you are the recipient of my conscious stream.
I hope this finds you well. I hope this finds you happy and peaceful and fresh. I hope this finds you.
Most graciously yours, for reviewing such an open letter. If only I could leave the address as open, and maybe it would find the right recipient at the right time. Now that would be magical.

Most affectionately yours (and still most graciously),

Class: Hot Silent Flow
Instructor: Claudine
Studio: Open Door
Wins: Flowing Camel and Rabbit; finding myself in a room where I'm always losing myself; breathing; forgetting about my water bottle; coming back to center; allowing the anger, or the calm, or the heat to occupy a brief image in the screen of my mind, then continue on; to know I'm moving, changing, growing; accepting what is; holding on to what matters; leaving behind what doesn't; understanding all three.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 57: It's Alright to be Vulnerable

I have a tough time being vulnerable. I hide behind this exterior of humor; mask myself in a facade of well placed wit. It's easier being funny; the one that is never short on laughs. It's easier to be what people perceive you as; something more or less than what you are. It's easier to detach yourself from a person, group or emotion; something I am far too good at. Every time I leave someone behind, I let them float out of me; they take all feelings and memory and leave a sigh. My yoga practice is reaching into to all the holes, all the bullet wounds, all the memories that I carve out of my body. I can see the space where someone once took up. I can remember how I felt. The holes are there, no matter how many new experiences I layer on top.

Vulnerable. Not weak, but vulnerable. Opening up yourself to the potential. The unknown outcome, which could either harm or heal. Being vulnerable. Accepting vulnerability. Being a person. Being who you are and showing that individual - that unique spark that defines you - to someone. Strength is not in bravado, or how many push-ups I can muster. It's accepting who you are right now and learning who you want to become. It's progression. It's yoga.

Today, I let myself be vulnerable. It was a good day.

Class: Hot 90
Instructor: Jennifer H.
Studio: Open Door
Wins: 3 camels and the best backwards bend ever; mixing up postures; fine tuning and paying attention to the details; making a nicely shaped bow; crying because I was sad; smiling because I was happy; laughing at the silly moments; breathing through the struggles; accepting; moving; growing.