And still standing:
The first session was an experience in itself. I was overly agitated, getting on the tube was all good but not only were the delays on the district line intermittent ‘due to high traffic’ (like really? on the tube lines? but the driver was almost sarcastic in his apologies ‘If it delays your journey we apologise but, y’know, we’ve got delays’. Not advertised delays I’ll add as I had an alternative route if only they’d given the heads up! With no real isolated problem there was no guessing what time I’d arrive, but I’d promised you all a double bubble for ‘D’ day and I was sure as hell going to try.
Nearly passing out on the counter the staff was very relaxed about it – I will find out his name as it’s staring to get embarrassing responding to ‘Anja’ when I don’t have the foggiest what he’s called! An unfair advantage though that he should be able to see my name pop up when I scan in. It was worst case scenario – I’ve never seen the studio so full and they were well into the first breathing exercise. on ‘elbows up and exhale‘ I took my chances and hot footed it to a spot I could see at the back, probably much to the dismay of the girls either side of me. Oh well, all’s fair in space and Yoga.
The first session was magic. Despite being too sweaty to keep my feet in place for Tree pose, where the foot is supposed to stay above the knee as you lean forward to reach the ground I learned that the lifted knee is actually supposed to be working too. In each of the previous 20 sessions I’ve been pushing my hips forward, stretching up as high as possible yet been stuck with one hand gripping my foot in place. The realisation has made me very pleased, I can put both hands together! The things in life that please me now, I’d never have thought it a few weeks back!
Better still, Head to Knee where a leg is lifted outright in front – so I can’t quite get any further than holding it up but I never thought that would be happening to me. And the one thing that I’ve NEVER managed to to that the rest of the world and it’s dog can, sit between my ankles and lean back. Until today one or other of my knees has given me so much gip that I was considering the possibility I may never reach this position.
Not bad at all for session one… but that was only the first hurdle.
The break was crazy busy, so many people trying to get showered, others arriving, chaos! With little time to spare I kept my kit on and jumped under a cold shower. I drank more water than I thought possible in 10 minutes (although I’m now questioning how much really should be drunk immediately before and during practice) and bumped into a fellow Yogi (Yogini?) that is at many of my classes. She’d had to leave due to unforeseen sick feeling form the heat – I heard a similar story earlier in the week – however after only half a pose returned and resumed! I think that’s awesome, once I’ve bailed from many things I tend to call it a day. But she returned and was feeling great…
Soaking wet I dried myself enough to not flood the place and signed in again. The guy on the counter was less impressed that I was making up a day rather than saving up for days off in future… but encouraging all the same. I felt totally out of place when the class was opened again – but pleased to see it was the same instructor, perhaps he’d not push me so much or give me the ok to stop if I felt dizzy like anyone under their first 5 classes? No such luck, although I did get a passing glance of acknowledgement that I was there again. And then the breathing began.
Having survived what I believe to be the least relaxing breathing exercise known to man I felt confident, feisty, like I could dictate my practice – the dominatrix of my own session. ‘Hands up, fingers interlocked, arms straight and bend, right and left, right and left’ OH MY GOD. Can’t breathe. Can’t bend. Think I can see – what is that posture I’m doing? That’s not good. My mind starts to race through all of the upcoming postures, the duration of the session, the pain as I pant heavily trying to concentrate on my breathing. Since when has breathing ever been so difficult? ‘Relax your head backward, look back, arms back, try to touch the wall’ – No, this isn’t happening, I can’t even stay balanced! I see the wall, but my hands are still pointing straight up – how can they go back? This can’t be safe! And yet I know I’ve done it 21 times before. Actually, 42 – everything is in twos. And down I go.
There are many improvements in this second class, once I’ve regained control of my breathing, some of which involved going back a few steps such as going far slower into Standing Bow. Another slight adjustment was my attire – now certain that this practice is here to stay I’ve started to purchase clothes that I thought would help a little – that was a huge underestimation. I’m not convinced shorts are much better than leggings, perhaps worse when you need grip. But as odd as I felt in a tiny top with built in bra – I was far less distracted by heat and could actually see when my chest was rising as it should do. Not completely flattering in places but if nothing else Yoga forces you to loose the ego. As happy as I am with todays’ developments I also learned that class is not the place to start congratulating yourself, it will only make you loose balance and probably cause the person next to or behind you do the same.