My Inner Worlds
It’s been nine weeks since my last official check-in regarding my yoga practice. I’ve learned that the summer months allow for more time at the studio because my job gives me flexibility during that season. Now that year-end approaches, my work demands my attention. By the time January 1 rolls around, almost all my waking hours will be devoted to my vocation. It sucks, but I love my job and the slow summers make up for winter’s hard work.
I’ve just pulled back from five classes per week at Raleigh Yoga Company to only three. I’ll practice Yin at home as my schedule allows, but I can’t do Bikram without the hot room and an instructor taking me through the twenty-six poses. The past several weeks have been difficult to make all five classes, so I’m practicing kindness to myself and setting more realistic expectations.
Yesterday’s Advanced Hot Yin class with Laura Frey was incredible. There were two other yogis present besides me, and I enjoy practicing with them. Sometimes having space in the room allows for a more connected class. To be honest, being in a crowded hot room with people I’ve not practiced with can feel claustrophobic. Once I get to know a person’s energy, I’m fine the next time we’re together. With a full room it’s unavoidable to not touch your neighbor in certain postures, so it’s nice if you know the person whose arm you just smacked or whose mat you’re sweating on. And yes, I have sweated on a stranger’s mat before and felt mortified for having my face resting on his towel for a five minute posture. Frog pose forces intimacy with one’s neighbor, and I only hope my fellow yogis understand.
My knees are healing and strengthening. While the right knee can usually tolerate what I ask it to do, the left still needs care and modified forms. I’ve found that I don’t like wearing high-heeled shoes to work anymore, which disappoints me. I like the look of heels, but my knees and back can’t stand the way they force my body into unnatural alignment.
Bottom line: I’m learning that my yoga practice will go in cycles and that I can’t hit it as hard as I did in the beginning. I’ve also learned that my body is slowly strengthening and opening, allowing me to do more advanced work. The final thing I’ve learned is that I can successfully do Yin yoga at home, despite the dogs barking or Matt making noise. My years of building a focused mental environment are paying off and helping me embrace Yin. The more the mind shuts off during the postures, the greater the benefit. I look forward to seeing how I feel next June at my one-year anniversary.