I was still distracted halfway through the warm-up series. Typically after the pranayama breathing exercise my mind quiets down, but not today. I kept looking at myself in the mirror. I even reached down and poked myself in the ribs. I won’t have many more opportunities to do so on that bare piece of ribby flesh. My mind was analyzing, whirring, imagining. Where will the best placement be for that tattoo I schedule for a few weeks from now? Should it be forward more? Back more. How much will I want showing when I sport my yoga bra or a bikini. How will Boof react when I tell him what I’ve decided to do? Oh right, move into ardha chandrasana, backbend, forward bend.
Soon my outside-the-class distraction of how my virgin skin will look with a permanent picture gave way to severe wobbliness. Sweat in my ear canal caused balance issues…which of course was highlighted during the balancing series. Try standing on your leg, breathing through your nose, with sloshing in the ear happening on every in-breath. I felt out of sorts, frustrated that my really good practice had so easily been derailed by something that hasn’t even happened yet (tattoo), and something so minor as a drop of sweat in my ear.
But I persevered with the body I had, because that’s what the teacher tells us to do. Your body is different each time you come into the room. Work with it. And so I did.
And after class, the lovely instructor/owner (who looks suspiciously like an elvish pixie, and I’m always thinking if I catch her in the right moment I’ll see wings) said, “your practice is really improving.”
Whoa. I told her I had felt distracted and she said, “wow, I would never have known you were distracted, your lines were beautiful.”
That compliment, coming from a master teacher, was SO INSPIRING to me. Especially on a day where I felt off, distracted, not doing my best practice. Though maybe that’s where I had allowed myself to fall into a practice, my body moving, without my mind over-thinking the postures. I’ve been practicing now for five months and feel stronger than ever. I may not go deep into each posture, I may still not have the inner thigh strength to do triangle remotely well at all, and maybe can’t quite get my balance in balancing stick, but I have beautiful lines. And that will keep me going…until the next yoga session.