Woke up today and felt ok.  Shoulder was not complaining, the soreness seemed to be fading.  I seemed to be acclimating to the improved diet.  I just felt generally even-tempered and rested.  It must be the cool evenings, they are so relaxing.

I have always liked Autumn, the slight chill in the air, the green fading away. Growing up, I didn’t even get the great fall colours you get here in Ontario, Edmonton’s choices for forests were more pine-y.  I just liked the cold air 🙂

The city does not seem to echo my contentment.  It has been raining off and on all day.  It started getting heavy before 8 am, and persisted until the afternoon.  Then came back in early evening.  Maybe we needed all that rain, I don’t mind.

I didn’t make it to sleep until past midnight on Friday following the late-night cardio, so I slept easily past the 8 am yoga class, but I made it to the 10 am class with Megan.  Took a pic before class, dodged most of the rain but not all of it!

It blends nicely into my sleeve, but yes the yoga teacher is wearing a cast.  She broke her foot a week ago!  Nevertheless she wanted to jump back into teaching, so she would be sitting at the front of the room giving verbal cues, while a fellow teacher assisted by walking around the room and offering adjustments when possible.

Chelsea!

This is Chelsea, she is also doing the 30 day challenge and reads this blog!  She would be assisting Megan at least for this morning’s classes.  Just a minor note, but I am pleased the quote on the wall is part of the pic as well, just a happy coincidence.

Doesn’t Ottawa have a cool yoga community?  I have only been doing classes for about the span of 14 months, but I find the community to be full of awesome people.  Warm people; industrious, creative, passionate, expressive people.  This might be one of the reasons I am throwing pictures into the blog, you get to see these glowing smiling faces. 🙂

Yes, class!  75 minute hot class.  I step out of the cool September rain into what turned out to be a rather humid hot room.  The practice seemed very back-focused, lots of twists.  It seemed to settle mostly into my lower back, or I might have been projecting into the area that needed the most attention.  Multiple seated prayer twists, straight leg triangles, revolved wide-legged standing forward folds, low side lunges, side stretches.

revolved forward fold

One fun moment came when we were in wide legged forward fold, put our hands on opposite legs, and tried to loop our head under one of the arms… I don’t know if anyone succeeded at that, but I tip my hat to them.  There were options in class for side crow, which I wisely declined.  When we experimented with seated pigeon, which is a step along the path to putting your foot behind your head, I found the whole experience tough on my tailbone, I think I might have bruised it slightly, so I laid on my back and did a little dead pigeon instead.

side crow with optional creepy face variation

dead upsidedown pigeon

Overall, it was a great class!  The best part was that I really was “in the zone” today.  I wasn’t the strongest or the most balanced or the most flexible, but my mind felt this laser-sharp detachment.  The whole practice was like a moving meditation.  My breathing felt easy (I didn’t notice it falling apart), and even as I struggled through this or that pose, my focus was there – WITHIN the 4 corners of my little mat.  As the sweat dripped off my body, I saw and heard and felt it hit the mat.  All the while outside rain drops pitter-pattered off the ground, I could hear the rain during savasana.  My sweat poured out of me in the hot room, flowing down from heaven to earth, and outside the rain flowed down heaven to earth.  This harmony with my environment, this synchronicity with the cycles of the seasons, reminded me that I was in the right place, I am exactly where I need to be right now.  Or maybe I was just feeling introspective. 🙂

I think this is what Megan was referring to by the balance between effort and ease – sthira and sukta.  Active yet soft, strong and yielding, observing without reacting, stillness in movement, we explore these dualities in order to ultimately discard them, in the goal of one day living a balanced life.

I guess what I am trying to say is this was a very balanced class for me personally.  Big Plus – the 75 min flew by before I knew it!  After class ended, I sat up, took a long pull off the water bottle, looked behind me, and the couple against the wall both sat up and gave each other a light kiss.  It was a sweet moment.

I walked through the rain some more.  Made it home.  Chilled out.  I actually enjoy the rain, it is comforting.  It seems like a paradox that I can both love the cold Fall air and the cool rain, as well as the hot room and building fire in my body, but that’s just how it is.  The cool air and the hot yoga provided a nice contrast to each other.

Then I read this article on the powers of cold therapy in strength training:

http://scoobysworkshop.com/2012/09/08/cold-therapy-for-strength/

First of all, I love Scooby, his fitness website is AWESOME.  Please go there and explore it fully.  This post of his though was to reference a Stanford study, and suggest that perhaps cooler temps help to prolong chemical activity from certain temperature sensitive enzymes?  Stronger for longer when we stay cool, basically.  This has not been proven conclusively, but it is an interesting theory to explore.  How does this reconcile with my love of hot yoga?  It does not at all!  Darn those dualities!  🙂

See you tomorrow!

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