Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When Practice Gets Tough

Like everything else, sometimes a practice is less satisfactory than desired. I woke up with a sore back yesterday and was trying to decide whether to rest and rehab or go to practice. Being the fitness enthusiast Ms T sent me this:
It was a sign (literally) that I should go to yoga practice. So I slapped on a Salonpas patch and went. Before the class started I tried to get a printout of my package for corporate reimbursement but this guy who was signing up took forever. So that didn't get done and I started class with admin issues on my mind. As if she could read my mind, Marlene started the class with a series of breathing exercises that helped to bring back focus and settle into practice. This was my tenth class and so far no practice has been identical. Even with the same instructor, each practice is always varied to train different parts of the body. 

The practice was especially tough for me last night because my body wasn't in the best condition. I feel like that's perhaps also true with instructors. She gave mainly verbal instructions and few demonstrations, and perhaps because I at the front of the room, I felt more vulnerable and unsure. On an ordinary day I had no trouble getting into poses just by listening but without anyone in front of me for affirmation, I was hesitant. For a second I felt that she could sense my uncertainty but did not change her pattern of instruction. In between that few poses I learned the importance of confidence and getting rid of unnecessary distractions.

This practice was tough. There is one feature in Marlene's practice - when you least expect it, she sometimes picks up pace. As I went through the sun salutations and vinyasas it required so much concentration that the only other thing that I periodically thought of was the towel. Halfway through a twist the girl beside me gave up, rolled up her mat and left.

For me I was glad that I attended the practice, partly because my sore back recovered when I woke up this morning. More importantly, it resembled life a little. Sometimes we feel good and have a great practice. Once in a while we don't feel so great because of physical, mental or emotional issues. But we try to push on and continue. Sometimes when things get too much for us, we take a break, like the girl who left. A practice, very much like life, is a process to be embraced, through all the good and bad, comfort or discomfort.