I went to the 6am class today. I know! On a Saturday! But our family had a lot going on today, so it seemed worth it to get up at o'dark thirty and go. I'm happy I did.
Today's teacher was the buoyant, seasoned-but-new-to-me Roxanne, and the class was quite small; there were maybe 15 of us in the room. That meant Roxanne could give us detailed, individualized attention, which felt like a luxury--almost like a private yoga lesson. My turn came during Standing Head to Knee.
I'd been feeling pretty good about how I was doing this pose. No, I wasn't holding my foot, but I could stand one one foot with the other lifted and flexed the entire time everyone else was completing fuller expressions of the asana.
But right away, Roxanne had advice for me. "Your spine shouldn't be straight," she said. "Try rounding down and making contact with your foot or leg instead. You're strong, but rigid. Find the ease in the posture. Go ahead; round down."
I tried it. Ease? No. It instantly made the posture much, much harder. The burn in the outer thigh of my standing leg got way intense very quickly.
I've mentioned before that my core is weak. After giving birth to six kids and not doing anything to restore my ab muscles afterward, I haven't called on my stomach much in recent years. But rounding my spine while reaching for my uplifted foot meant I couldn't rely on my back; I had to use my gut. Oy. Instant humility.
But I'm SO glad Roxanne pointed this out to me. As I rounded my spine, I got MUCH closer to reaching my foot--and maybe I actually will sometime soon.
Effort and ease. It's a complicated dance, but I'm enjoying every step.