Last night found me running frantically to hot yoga at Corepower, with minutes to spare before the first breathing exercises began. I was feeling scattered and, as Z-Muffin would say, took those feelings to my mat. It was my first class with Paul, and his opening breathing sequences were different then what I'm used to with other instructors. He had the class begin with bending our knees, holding our arms and hands close in front of the heart and chest space, and then with an exhale, extending the arms out and straightening the legs. I felt, honestly, uncoordinated and embarrassed. It took me a few tries to synch my breath with the movements, and my reflection in the front mirror drove me to distraction: I looked sloppy, haphazard and exhausted. Paul used the phrase 'holding your potential' when we were crouched in the inhale position, and my first reaction was 'shut up'. But as we moved into the half moon/ardha chandrasana/hands to feet poses, I noticed the tense look on my face in contrast with the shape my body was taking. My arms were straight and behind my ears, my abs and stomach were firm and I was bending further and with more power than I have before. This is a little silly, but I actually smiled at myself in the mirror. The anxiety and scattered thoughts I was hanging onto seemed to soften, and I made a small dedication then to 'hold onto my potential'. If you can believe that. I also made a promise to always remember deodorant before class--a promise I should keep on and off the mat.
The rest of the practice was great. I found my breath during eagle pose and felt mostly relaxed and strong throughout the class. Triangle pose/trikanasana continues to make me want to die. It's beginning to create anxiety; I know it's coming and lose my concentration, feeling resentment toward my long gangly legs that serve me so well in other poses. The insecurity of the pose was alleviated a little by Paul's attitude and the high number of dude-bro types in the class--no one seemed to be judging my quiverey legs and pained face. Paul helped me get to the floor in toe stand, which was the highlight of class. I've been feeling like I'm ready to execute the full extension of that pose, but just didn't know how to do it properly.
Kate, my friend who has been yoga-ing with me, and I ended our practice with some vodka and orange juice at her house. I mention this because I feel a little punchy talking about yoga this way, finding my breath, fighting the urge to say things like 'my chakras were burning up!'. Don't be afraid, it is only yoga.