"Juliana, in pirouettes you are your own worst enemy to yourself!!" ~ Awesome Russian ballet teacher to me, many years agoHere's a fun observation on my own practice.
Yesterday morning I was super tired and uninspired in class. I just couldn't wake myself up and wasn't really "feeling it." (You know, with these challenges... sometimes you start strong, and sometime you start slooooow!) I fell out of the first set of standing head to knee QUITE a few times, which is pretty much unheard of for me, and didn't even have the energy to care. One of those classes where you do every posture, but you're mentally dragging yourself by your fingernails every time.
Usually when I feel this way it's a sign that I'm getting sick, and sure enough, I felt even crappier for the rest of the afternoon and woke up feeling like uuuuuuuuuuggggggggh. So naturally, my aspirations for my morning practice today were low. I went into the corner of the room and totally gave myself permission to just take a "hot nap" the entire time.
Whaddaya know - I ended up having a totally decent class!
The most interesting part of the class was the balancing series. I had just taken everything slowly during the warm-up, being very precise, working veeeery gradually into full depth, and not thinking about anything. Our newest teacher was leading the class, and since she is fresh from training I think she has the best dialogue at the studio right now, so I just listened to her. My brain was off. Too tired to bother. And guess what? Standing head to knee was totally successful. No falling whatsoever in the first set, and in the second set I got my head on my knee, held it for a good long time, and somehow came out exactly the reverse of the way I went in (which is something that I still tend to fudge even on my "good" days, though I'm getting better). And standing bow pulling, which has been SUCH a love-hate-but-mostly-hate posture for me recently, was totally fine. I've been in this phase where I get stressed out about this posture (there are reasons, but it's a long story), and it just makes things 100 times worse. Today I just did the freaking posture, no drama whatsoever, et voila. Not a problem.
I liked this. It was a new way of proving an old idea: when you get your own mind out of the way, the yoga just does its work. If you start thinking too much, you become "your own worst enemy to yourself." (I love that redundant turn of phrase.) Borrowing Bikram's terminology, I could rephrase that and say that "your self is the worst enemy to your Self." Some days, you have to become a body without a brain.
Of course this only truly works if the teacher sticks to the dialogue without adding too many additions, subtractions, and incorrect "corrections"... but that is a messy topic for another day!