Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Progress

Had an inspirational and challenging practice tonight with one of my favorite people: Melody. We focused on backbends to open the chest and heart—and normally, I'm not a big fan. Backbends are tough on me physically, and I've felt the emotion they can bring on—it's always a little unsettling for me to venture deep into backbends because I always wonder if I'm going to end up in tears as a result of the opening and the surge in emotion.

But here's what I loved about this class tonight, other than it felt fabulous...Mel's backbends were gentle and her sequencing was excellent. We did a very challenging series of Warriors with the requisite Power Vinyasa flow, plus lots of pranayama exercises. But we started on the floor with Bridge, which was a nice departure, then Melody skillfully moved us into Flip Dogs, Camels, and modified Crescent Lunges through the rest of the practice. Thus, in effect, we were opening our hearts all along, in a very non-intimidating and subtle fashion.

And you know what? I think—no, I KNOW—I'm in a different place emotionally. Because I didn't feel any painful emotion rising. Only contentment, peace, bliss. Damn, that's an incredible feeling, to not be afraid of yourself—to be able to step outside yourself, take a good look, and know that you're in a good place. If they could bottle that feeling, I tell you, the world would be an infinitely better place.

There was also another aspect to this practice that I particularly appreciated...but before I get into it, I must give a little background info. If you don't know Melody (sorry for you), then you don't know that she is a deeply intuitive and beautiful being. She "brings it" as purely as my other favorite yogini, Dolly. There is an honesty and humility in her intention as a teacher, and it is reflected in the size of her classes. She threads connection to the spirit, to the universe, throughout her classes, and this really resonates with me. Particularly because of my predeliction for living in a BlackBerried, technlogically-centered, perfectionist existence. Getting outside of my head is a challenge, so every reminder that I am nothing but a small piece of this intricately woven universe is especially appreciated.

In the beginning of our practice, Mel asked us to breathe in and ask for that which we want from the universe. Now some may think this silly, but I am not of that ilk. Because breathing in and asking for want you want Law-of-Attraction-style is nothing more than "you get back what you put out" in a more more eloquent and concentrated manner. So I breathed in deeply and asked the universe for what I wanted, and was grateful when later in our practice, Melody brought us back to this intention, reminding us to recall that prayer and to send it out again. Essentially, that is yoga, this blending of mind, body, and spirit. But as we all know, some teachers are more gifted in marrying the three than others.

One more little side note: I missed Mel's class last week because of a scheduling issue, and ended up taking Dolly's class instead. Tonight Mel said to me that she was sorry I missed Mountain Climber and Flying Splits last week, which I love. Here's the interesting thing: as most of us know all too well, sometimes what you want and what you need are quite different. What I have learned above all else in this first year of my practice is this: being outside your comfort zone is where the real progress happens. It's good to do the backbends even when you don't particularly like them. It's good to breathe through the urge to run from an asana. It's good to try what you haven't before. Because in the end, you never know where you'll find that connection, that bliss—and you'll never know if you don't try. It takes courage, patience, tenacity, discipline, there is no doubt. But the person you can become in the midst—that...well, that could be your most stunning achievement, more profound than any yoga pose.

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