Posted by: kerryalina | 29 February 2012

Challenge Class 15: Mission 25% Complete!

I’m a quarter of the way to completing my 60 Day Challenge!  And I’ve found that writing my name down on the challenge board has had an unexpected benefit: everyone stops to chat when they see me tallying up my latest class.  About their last challenge, about how they’re thinking of starting one, about how they’d be too scared to even try (Don’t be scared!  It’s super fun!).  It’s strange how such a small, recent change – and one that I was almost too scared to do – can have such a hugely positive effect already on how I see and experience the community in my studio.  And yes, I’ve already become that crazy woman who extols the virtues and benefits of practicing doubles to anybody who innocently mentions the subject (or even comes close).  “Think about how good you feel at the end of one class,” I gush.  “And THEN think about STARTING the NEXT class feeling that good!”  By this stage, I can feel my mouth stretch into an involuntarily manic grin as my most recent luckless victim backs away slowly from my crazed eyes.

But I digress.  Small changes are what caught my imagination today, prompted in part by an instruction from today’s teacher that I haven’t heard before.  As we thumped our right feet down for Separate Leg Stretching, he winced and gently exhorted us to make sure we land lightly on the ball of the foot, rather than slamming the heel into the ground.  One small instruction, but it has already produced a huge effect on my balance and, dare I say, grace.  (This may be a stretch, as my own personal definition of grace is “not falling flat on my face.”).

Likewise, a teacher before Christmas suggested that we change the grip around before second set of Pranayama breathing – making sure the opposite thumb sat in front as we interlaced our fingers.  I tried… and immediately swapped back to the original setup, disturbed by how off-putting it was, how off-balance and wobbly I felt as a result of simply moving my fingers an inch to the left.  But, stubbornly, I tried again the next class – Pranayama, Half Moon, even Half-Tortoise – any pose with hands together, I swapped my thumbs and fingers over for the second set.  Always the “bad” side for first set, so I could wobble to my heart’s content before settling in and pushing to my edge in second set… but after a week, I found I couldn’t remember which side was supposed to be “bad.”  After two weeks, the side that was originally “bad” actually felt the most comfortable and natural – and does to this day.

One small change, scary and unnatural at first, but before long becoming commonplace and instinctive, even preferred to the original.  I’m sure there’s a moral in there somewhere.

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