I had a wonderfully serendipitous experience in class this evening. I am one of those people who sweat a lot. I drench the rug over my mat, my shirt and shorts are as wet as if I'd jumped in a pool, I soak two small towels that I bring to wipe sweat. Well, today was cerebral dysfunction day. For some reason, when I went to work this morning I took the one pair of shorts that I hate to practice in and didn't take any towels for wiping sweat. I worked today and got done with just enough time to barrel up the freeway and hopefully make it to class, so I was in too much of a hurry to remember that I needed to bring a towel from work. When I got my stuff out of the trunk for class, I was stunned to find that I was going to have nothing to wipe the sweat with. That's almost grounds to not practice. I decided I would just do the best that I could using my t-shirt. As we were waiting for class to start, I chatted with the woman to my right. She asked me if I had brought a towel. It turns out, she had grabbed two towels from her car by accident. I gave my best forlorn look and said no. She then gave me her extra towel to use. I know, BFD. But, what are the odds? I just about never fail to bring at least one towel. Sometimes, I've got three or four that have accumulated in my trunk "just in case" I need one. The one day that I don't have any towels is the day that the person next to me inadvertently brings an extra one. I felt a little guilty. I couldn't very well give her back her towel when it was dripping with my sweat and cooties and whatnot. I'll have to get it clean and leave it in my trunk for the next time I see her.
I had a nice chuckle in class. JMS, a friend who recently completed Tim's teacher training, was assisting the teacher who led the class. He seemed to be convinced that I am approaching actually being able to hold a handstand. I have perfected the art of falling out of handstand very slowly but I am nowhere close to being able to just hang out there. He was very encouraging but gravity never loses.
I was curious to see if I could get up again from backbending. I felt pretty good through the first three of them (we did five). I tried coming up after three but it was a dismal effort. Number four felt really good though. I was right over my arms, my legs were straighter than average and my back was arced much more than I usually am willing to go for. Just as I was getting ready to roll my hands and try to transfer my weight forward, I got helped up to standing. Bummer. I came up really easy though. I sat back down (still not brave enough to try a drop back) and tried again on the last one. I got into the backbend a little late. As I was going through all the machinations to try and get myself into a position that might succeed, the teacher came and helped the person next to me up. I was afraid he would go to help me next so I kind of rushed my stand up attempt. I got up but it was a butt-ugly stand up. I was waay up on my tip toes, I didn't get a good arc in my back, etc., etc.
While Tim is out of town, one of his other senior students has been leading Pranayama. He usually leads an Intro to Pranayama class on Saturdays that is a great way to ease into the practice. In that class, all of the lengths of breaths, retentions, etc. are shorter than in Tim's class. In the classes that he has subbed for Tim this week, he has used those easier durations. So, for two classes in a row, I did the sequence with no extra breaths. Not impressive given the challenge offered but it is good to get a sense that I can do it and that I had a fair amount of reserve to work harder. Where once I would have felt that it wasn't kosher to be doing the easier class, now I'd be happy to do a bunch of easier classes in a row. I would like to get the rhythm down, work out some of the bugs that I have with controlling my diaphragm and glottis, etc.
I may not be able to post for a few days. I don't know what my access will be to a computer on our trip this week. If I can, I will. If not, I'll try and write stuff down the old fashioned way and transcribe it here when we get back next week. We should be able to do a mysore style practice which will be great. I had sounded the studio owner out about maybe doing a pranayama group thing too but it doesn't sound like that will work out. Bad timing. Well, hotel room pranayama is less objectionable than hotel room asana practice.