Posted by: kerryalina | 23 March 2012

Challenge Class 35: I am the 99%

A pair of newbies recently asked me for advice as they walked into their first class.  “You’re going to feel like you’re dying,” I said.  “Don’t worry.  Everyone else is too.”*

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If I was to log my practice habits, they’d look like this:

  • Month 1: 99% of the time, sit out at least one posture.
  • Month 2: 99% of the time, sit out at least one posture.
  • Month 3: 99% of the time, sit out at least one posture.
  • Month 4: 99% of the time, sit out at least one posture.
  • Month 5: 99% of the time, sit out at least one posture.
  • Month 6: 99% of the time, sit out at least one posture.
  • Month 7: 99% of the time, sit out at least one posture.
  • Month 8: 99% of the time, sit out at least one posture.
  • Month 9: 99% of the time, complete the entire bloody series.

It was seriously that sudden.  There was no gradual improvement, no “I’ll do the whole series today, but sit out something tomorrow.”  Just a sudden realisation that I could do this without having to sit down.

As for how that realisation happened: it’s no secret that Triangle is (was?) my kryptonite, so the challenge for me was getting through that one pose.  If Trikonasana was under my belt, there was no way I was going to wuss out on a later asana and waste that near-superhuman effort!  There were a couple of catalysts that led to my current determination not to sit it out, but probably the most profound was an offhand comment by the teacher as the class readied itself for second set (and I readied myself to sit down).

“I know, I know,” he laughed.  “You’re tired.  Your legs hurt.  Your hips hurt.  Let’s do it anyway!”

Oh… my… god.  It was like a lightbulb had just gone on in my head.  I’d sat out at least one set of Triangle every class because I was exhausted; my legs trembling after only 10 seconds in the posture.  This was honestly the first time I realised that wasn’t unusual.  It wasn’t difficult because I was weak or tired or new or hadn’t built the necessary muscles yet… it was difficult because it was Trikonasana and that’s just what happens in Trikonasana.

In other words: I felt like I was dying.  But that’s okay.  Everyone else did too.**

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There were postures that had to wait until I was physically able to participate; I couldn’t achieve them until I’d built the muscles to do them properly.  I’m only just discovering that there are other poses that have had to wait until I was emotionally ready to accept them.

I can’t wait to see what other secrets are hiding in the series.

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*This is relevant to today’s post, I swear.  Stick with me.
**I told you it would tie in.  Also, please don’t tell me if you think Triangle is an absolute breeze – I don’t want to burst my little logic bubble!

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Responses

  1. after four years, there are STILL days when triangle sends me straight to the mat. i always try to do at least one set but ya know, some days you just gotta give in to the hips.

  2. Thanks for liking my post! I agree with so much of what you said here. First off, the part about suddenly being ready to complete the whole series. I feel like that happens with a lot of the postures for me, it’s like I’m stuck I’m stuck I’m stuck then one day I’ll suddenly be able to go 4 inches deeper into a pose and it’s like… where in the world did that come from? Also the part about needing to be emotionally ready for some of the postures. Of all things, I think savasana is like that for me.

    I’m so amazed by you! 60 days is wow. I’m on day 25 of my 30-day challenge and I’ve seriously considered a 60-day. Is it always 6 days a week for 60 days or do some people do it 7?

    Best of luck!

    • Hi C! I love when this happens: “I’m stuck I’m stuck I’m stuck then one day I’ll suddenly be able to go 4 inches deeper into a pose and it’s like… where in the world did that come from?” It’s like your body is suddenly moving past muscle memory and into muscle intuition :)

      And congrats on your challenge! Obviously, I’d definitely recommend continuing into a 60 day challenge :) Here in Melbourne the standard rules are 7 classes a week for 30 day challenges and 6 classes a week for 60 day challenges… but from what I’ve read, it seems that studios in USA tend towards encouraging 60 classes in 60 days? And some students here do the extra class anyway for funsies (or because they’re INSANE). Either way, the benefits are huge and the experience is amazing!


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