I woke up this morning exhausted and, for once, was grateful that I live off of the painfully slow B line. I hopped on the T, grabbed a seat, and proceeded to sleep straight through until I arrived at the studio. We moved into a new room this morning, which was sort of jarring. We’ve spent so much time hunkered down in the yellow brick room at this point that it sort of seems like a safe little cave. I thought I’d be happy to get out of it and see some new scenery, but I was delighted to go back to the old room for the second half of the day.
We started the day with a practice focused on backbends, with the ultimate goal of chakrasana (wheel pose). It was a pretty vigorous practice, but a good one. It was a typical morning from there, reviewing backbend poses.
As four of us walked to lunch, two of the girls started talking about our practice on the first day of class this Monday. The third girl and I were completely at a loss, having no memory whatsoever of Monday at this point (guess it’s good I’m keeping a blog). Sitting down with these girls and eating, I really realized what a strong, powerful group of people are in this class. I also realized how wonderful it is to be in a situation like this, where you can actually connect with high-quality people. In this low-touch, crazy age–and especially in a city–that’s often easier said than done.
During our afternoon session, I asked our teacher what she thought the most beneficial pose was aside from twists (which are detoxifying and help with digestion). She replied that inversions are phenomenal (headstand, handstands, shoulderstands, supported versions of any of the previous poses, and even Downward Dog to an extent, although the latter isn’t a true inversion since the legs are not above the hips). The number of benefits she rattled off was mind-boggling, but essentially inversions give the nervous system and organs a break from gravity. It can help combat the compression of the spine that comes with age (which is why people grow shorter as they grow older), and it gets the blood flowing. No wonder I feel so good every time I do a headstand!
We ended the day with a Yin yoga practice, bookended by meditations. I’ve actually never done Yin before, but essentially it involves holding low-to-the-ground poses for extended periods of time (2 to 5 minutes in our case). We began the Yin session with baddhakonasana, a pose I usually love. After folding over in that pose for god knows how long, I realized that Yin yoga is very, very different from Yang yoga. We probably did a total of only five or six poses, but held each for quite some time. It was intense, but also amazing. For as much as I struggle with actual meditation, for some reason Yin yoga was extremely meditative for me. I can’t even tell you what was running through my head at the time, but everything seemed very clear and simple and I felt an overwhelming sense of contentment and “rightness.” The general idea was “everything is good and exactly how it’s supposed to be right now.” During the actual 20-minute meditation that followed the practice, though, I was all set. It seemed as though time would never end.
There was a great sense of ease and familiarity today that was something new, and the day seemed to pass very quickly. As of today, we’ve officially completed the first half of the initial ten-day intensive. I feel fucking fantastic.