30 March 2014

When one class simply isn't enough...

Vacation is coming to an end. In a few hours, it's back to the mind numbing, day to day grind. My goal for these eight days was to attend nine classes. Naturally this meant that somewhere I'd have to do a double.

I've taken two classes in a day before but never the true, back to back double. So, after yesterday's class (which was quite strong), I made sure to drink at least 5 liters of water (with a little coffee thrown in at breakfast) and stretch throughout the day. Cleaning house and doing more loads of laundry than I can count kept me moving and my body loose. A good night's sleep and there I was at 7:35 this morning to take the 8 and 10AM classes.

The only word that comes to mind is AMAZING.

Knowing that there was three full hours of yoga ahead of me, I knew I had to keep some energy in reserve. So, for the first class, I took it slowly. In each posture, I didn't go to my edge where I might fall out, but just short. I figure I was going 80-90% into the posture -- where I could feel the stretches and compressions while keeping my breathing under control.

You know in the dialogue where they say, "The slower you go, the better you do..."?

They (yet again) are correct!

My floor series in the first class was so much better than normal!! I did all the postures -- even gave it full effort in both sets of Rabbit, which isn't normal at all. Overall, the first class was quite the success. After a pint of coconut water and a costume change, I was ready for class number two. As an added challenge, I moved from my comfortable spot on the right side of the room all the way across to the far left side (got to beware of attachments, you know).

Quite simply, my second class was phenomenal.

The warm-up was actually quite difficult. Half-moon was harder the second time, as was Awkward. After that, things went more easily. In Eagle, I got each foot behind the leg and held it for almost the entire time! Then, after Party Time, the miracle happened. I was able to actually lock the knee and kick out the leg in Standing Head-to-Knee. In both sets!!! Couldn't kick out straight, and couldn't stay there long, but I finally got there!! I was amazed and pretty damn proud of that! The rest of the Standing series was a blur. Took a knee twice but I was just so happy about such a huge improvement in SH2K. Even took a crack at Toestand, which I used to love but a balky right knee has made very difficult.

The floor series was harder but I actually went further in most of the postures than I have in a long time! My spine-strengthening set was so much better! After that I started to falter, but fortunately I was surrounded by three ladies and a gentleman who, by simply continuing to do posture after posture, kept me focused and energized. Each time I thought about taking a set off, they would all rise as one. I just wasn't going to try a double and lay out the final 25 minutes. With their silent assistance, I did every posture and made it through. My post-class mineral water has rarely tasted so good.

Overall, since the first class was a warmup, I was so much more flexible for the second. Therefore, instead of using my strength to find flexibility, I was (for once) using my flexibility to gain strength. In addition, my mind was more clear in the second class. There was less mental resistance, less "monkey mind", and more surrendering to the moment. It really was just a matter of listening intently and moving and breathing. Finally, the second class seemed to fly by. It was hard to believe I has just finished two back to back classes, let alone survived them so well!!

It can't be done all the time, but if you can invest a full morning or afternoon I hope you try to do a double. Your body, your mind, and your practice will thank you.


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