Am I going to stay up? Or, give up?
Today, I held a two minute plank in a full-flexed, push-up position. I didn’t hold two minutes because I set out to push my own limits of what I could do. I was tricked into staying up by my yogi, Ronn who is the official timekeeper of everything we do in class.
Of course, there were signs that things were not right. My arms were excessively shaking and I had to deliberately contract my abs to support my frame. I theorized that I had miscounted on the number of diverting Happy Birthday songs that I normally compose to people that motivate me, but everyone had all been sung to and we were still up in the hold.
I looked back over my shoulder at Ronn to see what was up and saw him focused on his breathing, totally concentrating in the effort. I was right at the edge of my ability. I felt that I could choose to collapse on a whim. There was nothing left in me to stay with him.
Oh my gosh, I thought, am I going to stay up or give up?
Continue reading “Remember When We Were Lions”
It’s been a few days since I have been with Ronn and there is a temptation to want to treat yoga as a lesser discipline that plays second fiddle to the greater physical leaps that are more obvious in strength training exercises. If I can now hold a sit position at the wall for 1 minute with Bertina beating my ½ minute last week, I want to keep jumping forward everyday into similarly measurable advances.
To be fair, there is a kind of progress that I can observe with yoga, but it a quieter change often below the surface of my physical presence. In my hour in the studio, I have to restrain my mental inclinations to not wander around my life, regurgitating conversations or planning future events. It is work enough to focus my thinking on my breathing and then travel down my body finding areas where I can be bettered aligned to seek the virtue in the pose. Continue reading “Day 22: Backed up against the wall.”
When I come in to a dark studio I see Ronn laying on his back with headphones listening to his Spanish language lessons on a podcast. This is the calm that I need right now and I lay down on a mat to wait for him to finish. Ronn eventually sits up and tells me that a very important exercise has been missing from our practice that he was reminded about over the weekend. He explains to me about the meditative power of alternative nostril breathing and shows me what it looks like. Continue reading “Day 15: Breathing with half a nose.”
Ron corrects my neck position as we begin meditation.
What should I think about? Should I hold everything together?
No. Like stones stack on top of each other. Effortless alignment. This frees the mind. No need to hold on.
The whole class we are preparing the body for this moment of letting go.
What should I think about? The stones? Continue reading “Day 5: Meditation: What should I think about?”