Friday, March 16, 2012
Primary Series led by Deb C.
6:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Had a good practice today. We worked through the Primary Series at a pretty brisk pace and I could tell that a lot of the more focussed work I've been doing on certain poses is starting to become evident during the flow. I'm also been experiencing a lot more openness and strength in different poses, which is pretty exciting. Forward bends are becoming less about wrenching myself forward with my hands gripping my feet, and more about using my hip flexors and internal core to create the bend with control. It's an amazing feeling when a shift like this happens, and it affects me on a mental as well as physical level — it has a way of readjusting your perception. You thought something was done a certain way for the longest time, and when you discover another, better way, it can be profound.
I had some trouble waking up this morning. We didn't get to bed until 11:30 or so last night and I'm finding that I really need a good six hours of sleep or else it becomes a struggle to crawl out of bed at 5 a.m. Once I'm up I'm good to go, it's just that initial decision gets a lot more complicated. I'll find my mind coming up with all kinds of excuses why I shouldn't get out of bed — "Maybe I'll just go to the 5 o'clock class" or, "I've already practiced six times this week, will an extra day off really matter?". It's that same voice that would pop up just after I quit smoking, giving me all kinds of reasons why it would be perfectly okay to have a cigarette.
It's that part of me that wants to be lazy, to be indulgent, to stay out late and have another drink, to be irresponsible — that little devil on everyone's shoulder. I've been learning over the past few years what it takes to ignore him until he disappears in a puff of smoke, or if he's really persistent, to flick him off, like in those old cartoons. It's something everyone must experience to some degree on a daily basis.
My little devil happens to be a genius debater, and usually presents a very convincing argument. Because of that, I've had to transform the nice little demure angel on my other shoulder into something resembling an Army Drill Sergeant. The discipline of maintaining a daily yoga practice is a way for me to strengthen that little Drill Sergeant, so he can whip that Id-driven troublemaker into shape. The more I immerse myself in this practice, the easier it becomes to win those little (or big) internal debates. In fact, I find that the little devil shows up less and less. When he does, I feel like I have a lot more control over those impulses and I can make a more conscious decision of when it's okay to loosen up and enjoy a little indulgence. And that discipline serves to sweeten those moments when I do.
It's my day off tomorrow, so tonight I'll raise a glass of wine in honor of balance, and offer a toast to finding the better way. Just one though, because no doubt, that little Drill Sergeant will be up early, blowing his righteous little horn and keeping my little devil in check.