We had a new guy in class today who set up right next to me. Of course. I must have a magnet that attracts the newbies to my mat. He didn’t look like a typical Bikram newbie in that he wasn’t young or flexible and hadn’t done much yoga. He had a tough class but he hung in there, though I’m pretty sure I heard “you… must… be…kidding!” at one point when he tried to reach forward and grab his feet.
But I was in the zone today. Even having a gasping writhing new person next to me didn’t rock me. I can’t seem to predict when or how I’ll be distracted. I’ve been in classes with veterans where everything annoys me and then classes like this where I drift above the nearby chaos and draw from some pool of calm and balance that normally evades me.
Bonnie said yesterday that as we work harder as individuals, the people around us feel it and they begin to work harder and the class acquires a vibrational energy that everyone can draw from. She calls it the Law of Attraction. It sounds a little out there but I think it was happening in class today.
I wish I could bottle this energy and uncork it in classes where everything’s going sideways.
“What are you doing with your face?? With a face like that your mother is going to think you’re doing something dangerous!”
That was Bonnie’s way of saying “Calm your face” to someone today. Sometimes it’s good to laugh in Bikram.
I actually thought of the effect of calm faces yesterday as I was watching the new guy look around the class. I could almost hear him thinking “Why is this so easy for everyone??” I wanted to tell him that it isn’t easy, but we’re learning to take the effort off our faces.
I’ve noticed that it makes a difference to have a calm face when I look in the mirror during a difficult pose. Bonnie’s term for this is “Tom Sawyering,” tricking yourself into thinking that something is fun and easy. I know that when I hear the grunting and panting and scrabbling around me AND I see my twisted face in the mirror, things don’t go well. But if I catch a glimpse of my calm face, and I see someone in front of me that looks positively elevated into ecstasy by their awkward pose, then I have a chance of taking a deep breath and focusing.
It’s sorta like watching those Olympic ice skaters after they try some kind of triple jump and fall. The first thing they do is smile. Then they get up.