Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Class #91 Yoga Tuesday 5:45 a.m. (Jeanie)

After attending last evening’s Sculpt class, which ended at 8:15, it was hard to eat dinner and wind down for sleep in time to feel completely rested for a pre-dawn workout today but here I am. I always thought that if I made it this far along in the quest pure adrenaline would kick in for the last little bit. Of course, nineteen more classes may not quite qualify as a “little bit”.

It’s always hard for me to get up so much earlier than I normally do but it makes it somewhat easier when the class to be taken is Yoga. Since I fired all my Yoga bullets earlier in the quest, I want to savor this one because it’s the last one on my schedule.

Jeanie Pierson, today’s teacher always brings with her a focus for class. Today she mentions a book she’s reading called The Mature Mind. The book cites research indicating that some aspects of human brain functioning may actually improve even late in life. One of those aspects is our capacity to simultaneously hold opposing viewpoints in mind without judgment. If that’s true, Jeanie reasons, we should seek out viewpoints different from ours to see what validity may lie in them and see what growth occurs when we undertake this practice.

The focus of the class then is “opposition”. In Yoga there are all sorts of potential oppositions to consider such as the balance between strength and flexibility embodied in each pose. Then there are the poles of too much effort vs. not enough effort that must be continually reconciled. Yoga teacher Matt Krepps says that whenever we are stretching a particular muscle, we should simultaneously maintain some internal focus on contracting that muscle (i.e. doing the opposite of the stretch). That opposition creates a subtle tension, which keeps our joints safe while stretching and strengthening the muscles more effectively.

Jeanie Pierson (note the opposition in this posture)

Throughout class, Jeanie brings up these various oppositions and others as we run through a wide range of asanas. It’s a good strong posture practice with plenty of strength, balance and flexibility mixed in.

At the end of class, we settle in to Shavasana, our resting pose and Jeanie goes around to each person and applies some China Gel and a brief neck massage. Even in this posture there is an opposition happening – that is, a completely relaxed body along with a quiet but alert mind. It’s in this unusual state where inspiration or wonder can arise. Plus, it feels really good.

At the end of class it’s only 6:45 a.m. and time for breakfast. As usual, once I survive the shock of waking up early I rather enjoy these morning workouts and their aftermath.

There are about 12 in class this morning. The $25 gift certificate goes to Susan Blair.

Next up for me, a Nia class at 10:00 a.m.

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