Sunday, June 08, 2003

Strange weather in a strange land. It's raining in June in SoCal. Granted, it's so light that you only need your intermittent wipers going. It's precipitation though. Usually in the early Summer, we get this daily cloudy overcast for the first few miles near the beach. Sometimes it burns off and it will be sunny for a few hours but usually it's cloudy most of the day. It's called June Gloom. I guess this is a heavy version of it. I like it personally. I find it relaxing to have some cloudy days thrown in.

Yoga today was a little more traditional than yesterday. Just the led first series class. That was enough. I was definitely sore from yesterday's excesses. I didn't get too tired though. Today I was positioned in a cluster of guys. One of them seemed to be fairly new to ashtanga, maybe to yoga in general. Going to the Sunday 1st series class is a rough way to get started. It's crowded, there's some pretty good people there and it tends to get pretty hot and humid. Most beginners get wiped out pretty early. This guy hung in and did a good job. It was rough because he got a lot of attention from the teachers so he wasn't able to back off and take a few rest poses. Nearby was another newer guy who has a real good practice. He's been coming for a month or two now. I've been watching him on occasion to try and learn from him. I'm hoping to pick up hints of how he does things that I'm not yet able to do, like vinyasa. Unfortunately, he does it so adroitly that it's over before I can see what he does. Today he was trying to get up from back bending. I'm too wimpy to try it from where I'm at in my backbends right now, but it looked like he was in a similar or slightly less auspicious place to go for it, so I was gonna feel bad if he pulled it off. There's plenty of folks who can stand up from back bends who don't have the best back bends. It's just that the things they have to do to get up are pretty scary to see. I want to get my body where I can doing it using something close to safe form. Maybe that's just the coward in me speaking. At some point, I'm just gonna have to go for it and let the form work itself out.

The atmospheric conditions were just right to allow visible wisps of sweat vapor to float up off of everybody. It's kind of neat to see while you're in down dog. You look back and it looks like everybody is emitting steam. Tim points out sometimes that the efforts of the practice allow us to see water in its three physical forms, solid--as in its presence as a component of the solid body, liquid--as in gallons of sweat, and as a gas, when the sweat turns to steamy vapor. It then condenses on the walls, windows and doors. By the end of class the walls actually have little rivulets of sweat running down them. The windows and doors are opaque from condensation. There's a kind of satisfaction you get from seeing such tangible evidence of exertion.

I asked Tim if he found pranayama classes like the one I struggled in on Friday difficult at all. He gave me a puzzled look and said, "No, it was just a normal class, Why? Did it seem hard?" That kind of deflated me. I thought I had a good excuse for failing.

We're starting to see more new faces in class each day. In a few days it's going to be packed with Tim's teacher trainees. Have to enjoy the relative open space while we can.

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