Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When it Rains, it Pours

For those of you who don't live in the NYC area, the weather in these parts yesterday was truly rotten: more or less raining sheets of ice inter-mixed with super-sloppy sleet. This is not a good recipe for full yoga classes. Everyone, teachers included, would rather have been cozy at home with a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of tea...or maybe hot cocoa.

I counted my lucky stars that both of my classes were at the same studio, and my home and the studio are both within two blocks of the relevant train stations. I arrived for my 3:00 class at about 2:35, dispensed with a couple pounds of inclement weather gear, and flopped down with a sigh on the bench in the front room. It was good to know I would be indoors for the next three hours or so. I wasn't super surprised when no one turned up for the 3:00, and since I was scheduled to teach the 4:15, I opted for a self-guided practice instead of braving the elements to run a few errands. I already had a sequence in mind that I had put together for my classes that day, which I was itching to try out anyway, so I approached the mat with far less trepidation than I usually do when there's no teacher to tell me what to do next.

The sequence was really wonderful: a solid, soothing warm-up, a few sun salutations with gentle twisting, a simple warrior sequence, followed by a more exciting one, which had the effect of making me feel like a flower blossoming open to the sun. Try it! You'll likely want blocks within reach...

Warrior I; Humble Warrior; Revolved Side Angle; Pyramid Pose (aka Chin to Shin); Triangle

Flow through a Vinyasa.

Speaking of blossoming open to the sun, I also did Wild Thing, aka Rock Star, aka The Ecstatic Unfolding of the Joyful Heart, which felt so wonderful in the middle of a cold, wet January day, like defying the weather and opening myself to the universe, in spite of the instinctive urge to hunch my shoulders up to my ears and fold into my chest. Definitely another one you should play with! If you don't recognize the poses by name, don't panic! Yogajournal.com has pictures, and explanations of how to move into and out of each of them safely. I opened my hips with pigeon, took supported bridge for back bending, and supported tripod headstand for my inversion.

I taught a lovely, intimate 4:15 classes, washed the tea cups, struggled back into my boots, and set off for home, a very happy yogi. My husband did cancel my grilled cheese plans by stopping by the grocery for whole wheat pizza dough, mushrooms, and an Italian cheese blend, but pesto pizza is pretty far up there on the comfort food scale anyhow. We settled in to watch Julie and Julia, something I had been campaigning for for months. My husband never wants to see the same movie more than once, but I thrive on repeat viewings, and since the first one, I had read the books it was based on!

Ah, bliss...Well, not quite. Watching a movie about a not totally self-realized person writing a blog for lack of anything better to do only to have it become a huge success and lead to a book and a movie contract definitely stirred up some very un-yogi like thoughts for this not-so-successful blogger and aspiring writer. Not that this could be made into a book or a movie...and, I filled up a whole earlier post with the importance of not doing something for the sake of results that may or may not happen.

So, you can't predict where your day's going to go; which vacillation your brain is going to take next. I started out not thrilled over the weather, gave myself a beautiful practice, taught a good class, felt amazing going home, and then got riled up over a movie I had been wanting to watch for months! (To be fair, I do love that movie; the parts about Julia Child are just pure joy.) And this is why we do yoga in the first place: to quiet those vacillations. To get a bead on who we actually are deep down on the inside: not our ego (the pouty part that scans for comments first thing when I log in, and has kept me from teaching a seated wide legged forward fold because it's such a struggle for me to do), not our bodies (a part of the part that felt so satisfied after that practice, and so content to be eating fatty pizza). We are our soul, our Atman, the light within that we speak to when we say, "Namaste!" Maybe someday I'll get there...for now, I'm trying Wild Thing again. I won't give up if you won't!

Omily yours,
~em

P.S. Perhaps I'll post more often so not quite so much gets squeezed into each one...check back often!

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