There were equal amounts of high and low to be found this week - sometimes in just one practice.
For example, I went to Ashtanga on Tuesday full of eagerness to show my teacher my newly-cultivated ability to stand up from a backbend. Yet within the first few Surya Namaskara A's, I felt as if my limbs were made of lead. That heaviness permeated every movement I made. My energy reserves were stuck on empty and it wasn't long before a full-on war was being waged in my head. "I don't want to be here. How can I get out of this today? Can I say I don't feel good? That's not really a lie because I don't. I want to go home."
And so it went. I managed to hang in there for all of Primary, although I found myself exerting less and less effort in trying to jump through. Toward the last Vinyasa, things devolved into down-dog then kneel and sit. Oh well, I'm not going to beat myself up about it but it was one of my worst experiences on the mat ever.
Surprisingly though, that same practice was also one of my best. Somewhere around Paschimottanasana, my teacher came over and I whispered, "Guess what?" "What?" she asked. "I stood up from a backbend on my own at home!" I revealed. "Of course you did," Jodi smiled. That's what I love about her - the confidence she has in me. It's priceless.
So when I got to the actual moment of truth, I did three Urdhva Dhanurasanas by coming up from the floor. Then I waited for Jodi to come over and assist. (I guess I still felt I needed a security blanket - especially given how low my energy was.) She helped on the first two and then I did two on my own. I was so proud of me! She was so proud of me! It felt really, really good. I was so glad I stuck it out despite my deep desire to run for the hills.
The irony of these two seemingly disparate feelings in one practice is not lost on me either. "Yoga" literally means the union or yoking of two often opposite things. Yin and yang. Strength and softness. Control and release. So it goes with most of life. You can't have the highs without the lows, right?
Here's the best part though... As I was leaving, Jodi asked me how long I'd been practicing now. I told her I'd been coming to her class since October. She thought about that and said, "Hmmm, six months? Let's give it another six and we'll start you on Intermediate." What!?!? I mumbled an enthusiastic "okay" as I stumbled down the stairs. I think I was in shock. Me? Second Series? When I first looked at the Ashtanga sequence, Second Series was something I never thought was in the cards for me! I figured I'd be battling through Primary for the rest of my life. I still can't believe it.
I'm so glad she mentioned it now, too. It has given me new resolve and a tremendous shot of motivation. There are SO MANY THINGS I still need to work on in Primary. Now I'm even more driven to make progress so that I can approach Intermediate knowing I've done the best that I could. Gosh, I'm excited. I know in my heart that I practice for myself only, yet it is still extraordinarily wonderful when someone you admire and trust validates how far you've come.
Kino's workshop is this weekend... I can't wait!