April 13, 2011

Flight Club.

Intention – learning to fly.

To see rain 3 days in a row is unusual for LA in March. Even though I was on vacation, I didn’t mind the rain.

Day 3 of my itinerary looked liked this: yoga, Khalsa (a healer), dinner with my super fun friend, and then … shall we say … a nightcap.

I was excited to be me!  First thing in the morning, I went to Yogis Anonymous to take class with Krista Cahill. I had researched her classes and watched on YouTube the craziness that goes on there. Well, it looked kind of crazy to me. I practice yoga, but not this flying stuff.  Some of these asanas will knock you off your asana.  Out I went from Marina Del Rey where I was staying to Santa Monica in the wind and rain to try and fly. This flying term is something that’s been going around for a number of years though I’d never heard of it when I started practicing what seems like 100 years ago. “Flying” kind of looks more like gymnastics, but if you add some pranayama, Lulu Lemon wear, and a yoga mat, then it’s called yoga.             

About 10 minutes into the class, I realized that I needed to work on my handstand game if you will. My handstand is wishy-washy. I can’t count on it.*  And my hands feel like they are glued to the floor. Instead of trying to move my hands to gather balance, I flip over. I came to fly, not flip. Flipping I know all too well. My handstand feels stagnant and stuck to me. I arrive and descend the same way. I lift one leg at time, left leg then right, try and find balance and then I am tired, and done. I thought I was in the habit of switching my kicking leg to balance out, but I have clearly favored one side for so many years and fatigued before I switched sides that the balance the sides thing out never happened. I do what is easiest and most likely to produce the results I want – a handstand I can hold. Huh, now there’s something to look in to. This is why I practice yoga, for the life lessons. In this case I need to investigate what needs balancing in my life. Just investigate, not fix.  What happens on my mat is what happens in my life off the mat. Lessons are learned on that sweaty, sticky mat. This is very exciting and only something that can be understood and felt by actually doing it. There is no post yoga affects pill. Thank God!

Gratitude to Krista Cahill, she has a new fan. The class sequencing flowed even when I floundered, and though the pace was faster than I’ve experienced in a long time, it felt good. I loved her play list – Led Zep and Bon Iver come to mind. Completely humbled, I decided to go back and take her class again. Two great classes, great atmosphere, great teacher, I caught the bug to learn to fly.

*Side bar here, I don’t need to count on my handstand. It’s a handstand. Handstands are fun and playful and fatiguing and juicy and well, the list goes on. I take it in stride.*

I love to have fun in a yoga class. If I fall, I fall. Of course a mindful yogi notices her surroundings before she attempts a pose that has potential for going awry so that she doesn’t kick someone in the head. We don’t go to yoga class for that – to be kicked or to kick someone. Know you space upside down, too.

Back in NYC where I live, my instincts told me to check out Kula Yoga Project if I wanted to learn to fly. Lo and behold on the class schedule I found Raghunath’s Flight School. Luckily for me, he teaches two classes at Kula a week at a time that works with my schedule. Woo hoo, flight school in the spring! Here I come!

So far I have been to 3 classes and my body is aching all over. How much lactic acid can muscles produce any way? Geez, it’s not like I don’t use my body every day to teach.  When I feel a muscle group saying hello to me, I try and name at least a couple muscles and think of their actions. It’s been a good anatomy review actually.

Raghunath said I’d be flying in no time. Even if this isn’t true, I am devoted to going to his class. Raghunath has a wonderful energy, makes me laugh and besides we all need a yoga teacher named Raghunath. Did I mention he plays the harmonium in the beginning of class and randomly throughout practice?  Singing, laughing, falling … this is the class for me. Total dork yoga class humor here, but a phone was ringing, no less it was coming from his bag and he asked, “Who put their phone in my bag?” Many of the students in class are either teacher trainees or yoga teachers, so we all got a big chuckle out of that. Had to be there?

While trying to fly I have learned that I need to build my upper body strength. I’ve had shoulder injuries in the past, so I am being careful as to how I build up strength without reactivating my left rotator cuff injury from 8 years ago (my shoulder actually froze) and right AC joint about a year ago. I am listening carefully to my body and watching my will. Being the restorative yoga junkie that I am, going to flight school is helping me find balance by getting out of the house with my yoga practice, and trying some new poses on for size. The two practices couldn’t be more polar and by united them, seeking balance, here it comes … Yoga.

I’m having so much fun, even if I’m not actually “flying” in class, I do float out after savasana. I am not yet a frequent flyer of this flight club, but I will be. Um, and this club we can talk about.

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