Sweat, side plank, wheel, pain and more sweat

This morning I took the Vinyasa Flow 2/3 class with Jan at Thrive Yoga. Jan is probably the most athletic teacher at Thrive and she always pushes me to my edge and beyond. I had to stop several times to let my breath catch up with me. My muscle still feel the exertion of the practice, six hours later.

Probably the most difficult part for me was seated in easy pose and doing as series of kundalini-like arm movements. My shoulders have loosened up a lot in the past month, but I still have a lot of issues with tightness and even pain. If I am moving into side plank, I have to handle the transition carefully because I feel an intense pain just above my shoulder joint. It strikes me as strange because I’ve done side plank hundreds of times in the past two years so it’s not as if I should be sore from tackling a pose for the first few times. The small repetitive movements of the hands and arms that Jan asked us to do (kind of like flapping my arms) seemed to bite through the fatigue in my shoulder and arms muscles. I simply could not do it at the same pace as Jan. Plus, easy pose (crossed legs) was far from “easy” because it was hard to maintain my back erect; I wanted to loose the curse in my spine and hunch over, which also made my hip tilt back. I felt as if I was falling part in the vinyasa.

The most rewarding part of the practice was when we were doing wheel. As I was moving into my first full wheel, Jan came to assist me by pulling up on my thoracic core, which allowed me to arch more completely, extend my legs and arms, and get a taste for the complete expression of the pose. When I went into wheel the next two times, I made a point of moving my feet towards my hands, something that I had never tried to do before because I felt or feared that my feet would slip out from under me. The action of stepping my feet towards my hands allowed me to activate my thighs more and also seemed to release my spin.

The bottle of water that I chugged down after class barely started to quench the fire lit by the practice.