What Class Is This?

I had a great class last night.  Wait.  Let me back up a day.  I actually tried to go to class on Wednesday night, but our studio has been plagued lately with heating problems, of all things.  So I showed up to class only to find it was cancelled.  I admit… I was a little relieved.

But then!  I showed up for the 4:30 class and was introduced to a new-slash-visiting teacher, Brianna.  She was fabulous.  I cannot say enough good things about her class.  She entered with confidence, stood front and center, told us she was going to be super loud, and then she began. 

It was awesome.  Did I mention that already?  Because it was. 

Brianna had this enthusiasm that came through in her voice and actions, even though she simply stood still up front.  She checked in with us periodically:  “You’re doing great…”  “It’s so hard, I know, just a few more poses till you’re on the floor…”  “These are the hard poses, I know you’re so tired, but you’re all doing so great…” 

It’s kind of cool to have a new teacher – a new voice, new cadence, new everything.  Change can be cool.  It was a tough class for sure – it was packed, juicy, and hot as hell.  My flight-or-fight kicked in around Floor Bow and it was all I could do to stay in the room.  But stay I did, and I even kept practicing. 

What else: 

Half Moon:  I’d picked Brianna’s brain before class about what I could possibly be doing wrong in this pose.  I tend to feel less of a stretch along one side, and more of a crunching feeling on the compressed side.  Doesn’t feel good.  Anyway, we talked about positioning, and I ended up having a great (though less deep) stretch.  Awesome.

Awkward:  I sorta had a breakthrough in this pose this time (for part one).  I really got the “falling back” part and was finally sitting in the chair.  Watching myself in the mirror during this pose, though, always gives me low self-esteem because my belly is all bunched and super visible.  Blerg.

Standing Head To Knee:  I’ve decided that although I need to use a towel under my foot (instead of gripping my hands under my feet, because my belly is too big) that I’m going to start practicing kicking out to gain strength.  So I kicked out about half way on each side.  It’s hard!  So much respect for the people who can do this pose fully.

Standing Bow:  I’m so proud that I can reach my feet consistently now.  It wasn’t that long ago that I needed to wrap a towel around my ankle in order to even get into the starting position for this pose.  I had so little flexibility in my shoulders, arms and spine that I simply couldn’t reach.  Then I could reach my right side sometimes but still not my left.  Now I’m reaching both sides consistently (though it takes me a little finger-walking to get my hands in the correct spot) and that feels amazing!!  I fall out over and over, but I just get back in.  I’m so thankful for reaching my feet.  The rest will come.

Separate Leg Stretching:  Sometimes this stretch is so deep and good that I feel a weird, euphoric kind of emotion while it’s going on.  My forehead can touch the floor consistently now, but I find that it’s so intense and almost… pleasurable?… that I let go early because I can’t take the joy of it anymore.  Then I just hang there and smile.  WTF is wrong with me!?

Dead Body:  Okay, hear me out on this one.  Sometimes I get all weird about this pose because I’m trying to be perfect at it.  I want my arms tight to my body and my heels touching.  But my body isn’t built that way yet.  My arms are fat so they’re farther from my body.  My thighs are bulky so my heels don’t touch.  The choice then becomes to do the pose beautifully, or to fully relax, and I often catch myself going for beautiful.  Weird, right?  Who cares if my heels are a few inches apart as long as I’m still and resting? 

Camel:  I grabbed my own feet for the first time in camel.  I was so excited for myself I couldn’t stop smiling.  I reached down for my right heel, and then instead of flailing I just found my left calf and ran my hand down to my heel and WHADDYAKNOW, there it was.  I’m a big girl!!!

Head To Knee w/ Stretching:  God, I realized last night just how badly I need this pose.  My achilles and calf muscles are so tight that I feel pain even when I’m pulling my feet perfectly vertical (I’m a natural toe-pointer, I guess).  It’s going to be a long time before I’m pulling my toes back toward my body… and I can’t wait.


3 responses to “What Class Is This?

  1. I too suffer from the big belly (I am 50 to 80 lbs overweight depending on what size jeans I’d like to fit into). My modification on this pose, which my studio’s teachers support is to cock my knee out to the side away from my belly while grabbing my leg. I’m still looking at my locked knee in the mirror and i’m still meeting my foot halfway, but instead of reaching out and over my knee, I sort of grab my foot like I would for tree pose. Then I correct my grip and kick out. With this modification of the first step, I can kick out and hold the pose for up to 20 seconds. I’m pulling my toes back and starting to bend over my knee too. The only place that is a problem is the belly at the beginning. Sure it doesn’t look pretty when I start but when I am looking in the mirror with both knees locked, my legs in a perfect L, it makes it worth it. And since I see no possible way to do the pose right (without a prop, like a towel), I’d just never be able to progress without this modification until the belly disappears. I’ll say this too, I’ve never seen anyone at my studio use any kind of prop in class. Obviously, your studio is fine with it. Anyway, solidarity big bellied sister!! I feel you on this struggle. I just figured I’d share how I get around that issue. I hope I didn’t come off preachy or anything!

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