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.
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.