Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh, the Memories.

I love the end of the year. I enjoy the holidays, the time off, and the turning of the old year into the new. I revel in reflecting over the year. Even if the downs stand out front and center, I manage to be able to anticipate lots of ups in the coming year.

Of course, I've been reflecting a lot about yoga class. Last Saturday, I had a pretty tough one. It was hot, it was humbling, and I had to leave the room during the standing series. Initially, I was so humbled it hurt. As I walked back toward the hot room, feeling the heat and dread radiating at me, I realized that I actually had come a long way, baby, since starting up this practice again.

I remember my first day back. I knew it would be tough, but I thought, "I run miles at a time. I'm in pretty darn good shape. I bet I do OK." Uh, no.

But from there, it was progress. One way or another. Midway through the semester, I remind my composition students that learning is not always a pretty, straightforward process. We desperately want it to be like this!

But really, it's more like this.
It goes up, it goes down, and there may be more than one way of measuring progress. Learning--progressing--in life or in yoga is so not straightforward.

I remember when I couldn't stand in standing-head-to-knee pose, even with the leg sort-of locked, for the full minute or 30 seconds. My standing leg would just burn, and I'd have to come out early.

I remember when I couldn't do Camel for both sets. I'd feel like my heart was a hummingbird and that someone was about to eviscerate me.

I remember that in Fixed Firm, because knees and ankles tight from running, I couldn't go all the way back. Kaphlbahti breathing made me feel sick, and I could never, ever balance fully in Toe Stand.

Most of all, I remember that I would always have this odd misconception of what other students in the class were capable of, even though I rarely look around the room. "You suck! Everyone else is doing this pose better than you!" I'd say to myself.

I'm happy to say all those things aren't true anymore. Well, they're usually not true anymore. Other challenges have cropped up as some resolve, and some of my hot room demons still haunt my practice.

Progress may not go in that nice, upward line, but one thing is certain: it always goes forward.


ellelove7 said...

I miss that. I miss the struggle and heat. I honestly miss feeling my head begin to spin and see stars in my eyes. I wish there were another studio in my area. Anyway, you are right. It always goes forward.

AliveintheFire said...

All you need to do is take a week off for a workcation to Puerto Rico and then take class... that's what I did, and I felt like a newbie again! Ha. Sort of. :)

Love this post. Love the idea that as you progress forward, you also learn to stay with your own progress instead of looking to other yogis around you who may be in a different spot in the posture. SO true.


bikramyogachick said...

Yes, it goes forward...even with the horrible room leaving dips! I hate those hot room demons, they are a pain in the arse, aren't they?

Yolk E said...

Room demons--you said it, Michelle.

Thanks again for the comments, Elle and Alive :-) There are so many ways to progress!