Mind games

Can it really be possible that just thinking about relaxing your hamstrings makes a significant difference? Or did I just have a particularly bendy practice today? Led primary at the Starbucks of Yoga studio. The one class Volleyball Guy regularly teaches there per week. Their commitment to Ashtanga is not so strong (understatement).

Anyhow, I had the idea that perhaps my psyche affects my hamstrings. It makes a kind of intuitive sense–if I spend all day at work storing anxiety in my muscles, then go to sleep without releasing it, wouldn’t it follow that the tightness might just stay there, all stored up and ready to torment me in practice? Who knows. But I consciously spent some time relaxing (or, more to the point, thinking about relaxing) my hamstrings. In addition to the stretches I do to try to relax them physically.

So how’d it work out? Great, actually. Usually in prasarita padottanasana B and C, I can’t get my head to the floor like I can in A and D. On B and C, I am usually happy if I can just feel my hair barely touching the mat. Today, no problem getting the top of my head down to the floor. In kurmasana, I was quite surprised to find my face smooshed on the floor–usually it’s just my forehead barely touching, at best. My legs are getting straighter and straighter–with considerably less stress on my shoulders and arms. And in upavishta konasana, my head was on the floor. No, not my chest–that’s still a bit much to ask for.

I was kind of in and out, focus-wise. Not nearly as deep as in Mysore, but at least a constant state of calm–and I was able to send myself back into myself any time I noticed I was drifting out and around.

So practice is done and now I can spend a nice, relaxing Saturday with the Cop. Maybe the library, then dinner out. Our usual activities. Tomorrow’s a day off, so I might as well enjoy some margaritas!

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