Friday, May 23, 2003

My last couple of practices have been less than satisfying. Once the practices have gotten going, I just haven't been feeling in synch for some reason. I could bend okay, I wasn't stiffer than I expected to be. I just seemed to struggle with some postures that I usually wouldn't have much trouble doing, especially with postures that entailed bandha control. Wednesday evening, I just didn't have it at all. After a while, I seemed to be the last one getting into each posture (it was a led 1st series class). The farther the class went, the worse I seemed to do. I kept wobbling and bobbing in the postures like ubhaya padangusthasana and Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana. I wasn't sure why things changed. I had been reasonably pleased with my practices lately. Sometimes, when you go into a class with expectations, the opposite seems to happen. As I drove home, I chalked it up to being one of those practices that just happen from time to time.

I had hopes that things would be better the next morning for Tim's Improv class. No such luck. I did okay until we started doing a series of pincha mayurasana poses as we worked towards doing viparita dandasana and viparita chakrasana. I can normally do pincha mayurasana ok. I sometimes take a few attempts to get up and I may fall out of it from time to time, but I can usually get it okay. Yesterday, I fell through to a somersault every time I tried it for something like five postures in a row. This was the first time that I ever found myself getting frustrated enough in class that I became overtly angry. Fling the tennis racquet, slam the golf club angry. By the time I did get up and hold the pose, the rest of the class was doing things well beyond where I had just gotten. Having failed to do something I thought I was easily capable of doing, I had no confidence approaching the even more advanced backbending stuff that we were then supposed to be trying. Fortunately, the class slowed down a bit, my anger dissipated and we tried some really different stuff, like yogi dandasana, that got my head going in a new direction. I didn't feel as bad when just about everybody else in the room couldn't do the pose either.

I've only gone to that class twice. It's a more advanced class. I hadn't gone in the past because I didn't think I should be going if I can't be doing what most of the class is able to do. It bugged me that I was showing a practice that didn't belong when I knew I should be able to do it. The getting angry bugged me even more. It spoiled the rest of the morning for me. Now, why it should bug me that I might not be that good at an advanced class when I'm not an advanced student is the question I've had to address. It implies a certain degree of arrogance, which I thought was something I would not be very susceptible to, at least not with regards to my asana practice. So, another couple of lessons being imparted. Maybe it's good that I'm working today. I wish I could go to a mysore class though. I think that would get me back to basics and get me going better mentally.

It's easy to accept inability to do poses when there is an overt flexibility limitation. If I had closed hips, I would not get angry at not being able to put my foot behind my head. But, the internal limitations are less obvious. If my body is flexible enough to do a pose, but my bandha control and my mental focus are not sufficient to enable me to do the pose, it maybe is easier to slip into the unrealistic type of thinking that leads to frustration and even anger.

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