Friday, June 22, 2012

108 ~ or controling your mind

Today I celebrate Summer, yoga style. Three months ago, I welcomed Spring in the same fashion; through 108 sun salutations.

Yes! 108 tadasanas, 108 planks, 108 chaturangas, 108 upward dogs, 108 downward dogs, and 108 forward folds (plus or plus if you count the extra forward folds the instructors threw in there). In addition, there were the  warrior ones, the warrior twos, the reverse warriors, side angles and chair poses in the mix. So, you can imagine (or maybe not) how intense this is.

Over the course of two hours, you breath, you move, you sweat and you repeat. You rest for a breath or two then you are on again. And again, and again until you hit savasana one, which does not come too soon. But this time around, it did!

When I did my first 108, I was not ready. I did not know what to expect and I had just started practicing yoga regularly (if you call going once a week for a few weeks a regular practice). Although, physically I was no where near taking such a task, mentally I knew I had to do it. As soon as they announced it in class, I heard my calling. I signed up, and went. I did what I could, which, depending on how you look at it, was either not much or just enough. But although I did not do all 108 poses, I practiced restraint and stayed for the length of the practice. I sat and breathed and watched and listened. I gained experience and congratulated myself for having tried, and succeeded. It was my first achievement. I was on such a high when I came home that evening that I started looking around for other studios in the area that were doing the same series; I found none. I was disappointed.

Fast forward to three weeks ago at the yoga studio. They announced the summer solstice celebration and I was the first to sign up. This time, I felt more prepared physically and mentally. Although I was not 100% certain I could do 2.5 hours and I worried about it (last time it was 2 hours) I went ahead anyway. The only way to find out what you can and cannot do is to try! 

And sure enough, the one thing that I worried about was the one thing that allowed me to flow through the entire 108 without missing a beat. Everytime I felt like stopping or missing a sequence I would tell myself there is plenty of time skip a couple closer to the "end" of the session. The whole time I had the wrong time frame in my mind. I thought I was only a third of the way through, when in reality I was half way through, and then two thirds when I thought there was an hour left and so on until the last instructor announced that we were heading for the last 12. What!? I was so surprised to hear that, and relieved! I had made it to the end without even knowing ~ and that was the best part!

The mind works in mysterious ways, and I had just "tricked" mine into submission! I had complete control over my mind tonight and did not let it control my body. I was in charge and because of that I made it. I am not only proud of the physical challenge I just achieved, but also the psycholigical challenge I did not know I was undertaking. Sore as I am, I am euphoric. And, I am looking forward to the Fall 108. Will it come soon enough?

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