Saturday, February 14, 2004

My wife's father died a few weeks ago. He was suffering from a couple of debilitating problems so his death was not a surprise but it is still always a shock when someone so close does die. We are having a hovan, a hindu rite of passage ceremony, today at his brother's house. My wife's brother has been in town for a meeting and her sister and her four kids flew in yesterday from their home in Hawaii. So we've got just about the entire family together in one spot for the first time in quite a while.

Yesterday I worked in the OR in the morning and the clinic in the afternoon. I tried to jigger the clinic schedule a bit so that I would have a chance to get out in time to make it to the evening Intro to second series class that starts at 5:30PM. I did finish seeing patients at about ten till five, but I still had tons of phone messages to get done, since I'm not back in the office until next Friday. I didn't get out of there until about ten after five. I figured, "OK, so I get to practice late, maybe miss the Surya Namaskaras, no biggie. It's maybe rude but that's just tough." Well, this time the traffic gods were not smiling on me. By 5:45 pm, I was still 15-20 minutes out from the studio. I called my wife to tell her I would be coming home. She told me to instead go to the 6:00 led first series class at one of the local health clubs that she teaches at sometimes. So, dedicated ashtangi that I endeavor to be these days, I turned around and headed back there. I still got there late but I was in a class.

The class was in a nice room but it was well air conditioned by the gym's system so I never got very warm. The class was a typical melange of ability levels but for the most part, people were fairly new. The teacher spent a fair amount of time explaining how to get into and out of poses. Since on-the-fly verbal description is often insufficient in helping people do some of the more complex and difficult poses, he also had to spend a fair amount of time helping people do poses that a fair number of them really weren't ready for. It was supposed to be a led full first series class though. He did get in almost all the poses and the class did flow fairly well so I have to give him credit. That's not an easy thing to do when a good portion of the people had not done those poses very often or, in some cases were trying them for the first time. Given the need to coach people, the class was distinctly different than what I am used to because the guy was talking non-stop for the entire class. That's okay for the asana part of it but I think savasana should be left for people to do on their own. I don't like it when teachers talk about stuff during that pose. It should be time for internal focus, not external guidance. My only real peeve for the class.

I had to curb my desire to try and show people how to do poses. You know, when they are trying to figure out what the hell the guy is talking about when he's talking them through the entry into one of the Marichyasanas and are wrapping the incorrect arm around the wrong leg. I realized it wasn't my place though, it's too easy to be taken the wrong way. So, I just did my stuff as best I could. I was a little embarrassed at not being able to get my arms through on Garba Pindasana, not a bit of sweat to help out. It was a good thing, kept me humble.

I think we ran out of time near the end. We only did two back bends. I usually do a modified bridge pose, setu bandha sarvangasana, for my first back bend. When I went up into Urdhva Dhanurasana for the second rep, he said that would be the last one. Crap! I thought. I need to do more work on my backbends so I had been hoping for at least three or four. Then he came over and started to help me up to standing. I wasn't expecting that in a class like that, especially after only two back bends, so he ended up doing almost all the work.

I was glad to be able to practice, I felt reasonably loose and I knew having done it would help delay my tightening up for that much longer. No practice today. I work tonight so I will be going to the led first series class tomorrow morning

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