Doing what I want, when I what, how I want

So, I went to a yoga class tonight that was just not my thing.  I am very proud of myself in the way I did not get angry or frustrated at myself, the situation or the teacher.  I was slightly annoyed at somethings but nothing I could not get over by laying on my mat and enjoying the heat and the sweat. In that past that would have driven me crazy.  I have read many funny or sarcastic articles on things in yoga that are annoying or just silly.

Not as much annoys me any more, but there are a few things that just get me annoyed or in some situations, angry.  One that gets me the most angry is people, and many teachers, tell you not to skip a pose just because you do not want to, only if there is something that is not serving you. To me this is hypocrisy.  I understand that you should try doing things that make you uncomfortable to get over whatever is making you uncomfortable.  But there is a time and place for all of this.  If I am really paying attention to who I am am and how I feel and I do not WANT to do something, then it is NOT serving me.  The spiritual side of us does seem to manifest in physical problems and sometimes I do avoid things to avoid something I just do not want to do.  But if I want to be lazy, I will be lazy.  If I want to not do vinyasas because my body is just not feeling it, who is to say that I should just get over that feeling because it is not a feeling worthy of being listened to.

I spend long hours at work doing things that do not make me happy, I am not going to spend money and free time doing the same and having to justify a reason for doing it.  This whole letting lose and floating with the breeze thing is really showing me how much people tug on you in life.  They tug you in a direction in life because they think it is good for you or good for them.  No one can tell me what is good for me but me.  Sure you can give me advice and point me in a direction.  But if I do not go that direction do not assume it is because I was too weak, lazy or unskilled.  It was simply not the best path for me. I do not have to be challenged to feel as if I am doing good.  If I do not enjoy the challenge or the path I will walk another.  I am not giving up, I am being compassionate to myself and others around me.

Just because you feel something in meditation, or travels, or a yoga pose, does not mean I do or ever will.  There seems to be a feeling that there are too many lazy Americans.  What I see is people doing things they do not want to do because they feel this shame for not wanting to be the lazy, fat or ugly American.  When you spend all your time doing something you do not want to do you feel you deserve to be lazy and eat that piece of pie.

Instead, I feel that I deserve everything in my life.  I do things because they serve me in some way.  And I do not feel ashamed any more.  I do not feel shame masked as guilt, because if I had to do it over again, I would skip that vinyasa again.  People seem to think that our desires and wants are something that we should not listen to.  The point is to not be attached to them so that you can see what lie below them and what drives them.  You will never find out what is beyond them, without facing them head on.  I do.  I am.  Do not assume I am not.

I am very proud of being in this place.  I was afraid I would not be by the time I left for my travels and I would not enjoy the places I am in because I would either feel guilty or feel as if I need to worry about making things work.  Instead I am listening to my body and the world and figuring out how I want to make things work and what is available.  This is much more logical and then I do not do things just because they are available, easy, secure, or acceptable.  I will do great things because of this and I will be a great person doing what I want, when I want, and how I want.

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Happy Hour Yoga!

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.

The Teacher

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.

Happy Hour!

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 Studio

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.