I went to my first session at Thrive Yoga since last Friday, a vinyasa flow 2/3 that should have been beyond my reach because of my lack of practice. I could have panicked; instead, I let the yoga find me on the mat. If I felt winded, I went into child’s pose. If I wanted to keep my own pace, I did not let the lack of synchronization with the rest of the class throw me off. I paid attention to how a particular pose felt, what muscles were taxed and twitching, what was different from previous sessions. It was fine. I made it through the class and did not feel worse for the wear.
During the past week, my 9-to-5:30 job seemed to stretch into a 9-to-6:30 because last-minute requests required extra time at the end of the day. So I don’t make it home in time for the 6:30 or 7:30 classes.
At least I have my yin/restorative routine in the evening, but that does not condition me for a vinyasa flow class. It keeps my muscles and fascia from shortening into my old habits of being a keyboard slave. I am more interested in learning to release my muscle tension that building muscle strength so I am not going to berate myself. I am more interested in monitoring my daily yoga practice, however modest it might be, to see how it changes than focusing on the peak performances that come from an advanced vinyasa class or master workshop.
That’s an important shift in perspective: I used to look to a formal yoga class and a trusted instructor to produce the substantive change in my condition as a yogi; now, I see daily practice as being the more powerful leverage point in altering the balance of my being. I need my daily practice to feel at ease and sane. It’s taken six years, but I think the turning point came when I heard Kelly McGonigal give some advice in a Google Talk when asked what kind of yoga a novice should do at home: she said go for whatever your body is asking for, listen to your body. So in the evenings, I started to do the poses that my body seemed to be asking for. Kelly may have written this point in her book or made a point of it in her online class five years ago and it never sank in.