Connecting to the Pose
So lately my yoga has been much more intense and focused for me. But, my life is becoming much more intense and focused, so this makes sense. I am evolving. My drishti (where your vision is focused) is almost always fixed, whereas I used to have to remind myself all the time to stay focused (or I would not even try). Also, when I am in the pose it is like I am in the pose with an intent to be there in that pose. I feel my feet and or hands grounded, all muscles involved engaged, and my body is there in that moment. When I am in extended side angle, I am there not just waiting for the next pose and counting the breaths until I get to move.
It has helped me not to push too far and not to pull out too soon and to not be half-assing a pose. I really enjoy yoga a lot more lately. It is like I am preparing my body for life. Occasionally there are poses like planks held for a long time or forearm plank that I still get to the point” of oh my God can we stand up again” still, but not as many. I feel as if I am connecting to poses better. I know intuitively where my body wants to go into a pose, how deep, and with what modifications.
New Favorite Pose
Extended side angle is one I am really starting to connect with. This was always a pose I liked to get into and out of quickly. I hated holding it. Lately though it is as if I feel my extended arm that is stretching over my ear is strong and reaching out from my body and creating a beam of energy up and out. My gaze, drishti, is strong and fixed up without my neck hurting or being overly engaged. My legs are strong and deep into the lunge and I am aware of where the knee is and if it is over the little toe side of the foot. My supporting arm is almost always elbow to knee lately instead of extended. I really feel as if the stronger connection and grounding is something I need more now. Before I would try always to open my arms and place the supporting arm on the ground.
This was the case at Happy Hour Yoga at Altamonte Springs Yoga on Friday, taught by Rob Hefele. I love Rob’s classes because I really do feel as if I can do any pose and it does not matter. A lot of teachers say that but I do not feel that. Or I hear, “its okay if you modify this but you should really try it this way, you might be surprised how it feels” after I modify in a way not offered by the teacher. Rob states this at the beginning of the class and all poses so I do not feel as if he is saying it because he saw that I am not doing what he wants to see. In fact, I get the impression he does not want to see anything in particular at all. He is an easy-going guy with a great flow an awesome voice to listen to, and as most female yogis in the area will tell you, a lot of very attractive tattoos.
I am always able to feel as if I am exactly where I should be in my pose and not pushed to go anywhere else in this class. It is also packed with people and includes guys too, not all classes have this addition, and so it has a lot of energy. He, like a lot of great teachers, takes requests if you need something in particular.
After class there is wine and great conversation if you choose to partake. The class, teacher, and studio in general have a great community of people. Some nights there are not very many participants and some nights there are many. I cannot drink after yoga so I normally just have water or head home. Wine after yoga sounds like a stomach ache and headache to me :).
The Altamonte Springs Yoga studio is gorgeous and has two floors. Happy Hour Yoga is in the bottom floor in the larger room. It has plastic insulating the room so that it can get very hot during hot classes (this is not a hot class) and they have dehumidifiers, fans, floor heaters, and crazy heat lamps on the ceiling. There are two mirrored walls and a great sound system. The floor is wood and gets slippery when there is a hot class or after a hot class. Especially MyLinda, the owner’s, hot classes.
Hopefully my yoga practice will keep improving like it has. If I am done I am done and I just sit in Savasana or spinal twist or rock back and forth. I skip poses I know will not serve me in the moment and ask for other poses that I can get similar benefits from. I hope I can make it to a few more Happy Hour classes before I leave.