Tuesday, December 22, 2015

23. Take a figure skating class. CHECK.

Lessons 3-7 Recap

Lesson 3: I left the back and forth from one side of the rink to the other and graduated to the circle to practice the preliminary steps to the crossover. Skate right, left, glide lift right leg. Skate left, right, glide, lift left leg. My balance was wobbly at first but with more revolutions, my moves smoothed out. My body began to recognize the moves and weight adjustments, so I could relax and not try so hard.

As my body went around in circles I could feel my mind wander in a wonderful, meditative way. I reflected on the surprise comfort and enjoyment all of my physical activities on the 40/40 list have provided me in the past year. It turns out there IS an athlete inside this body. This bookworm does like the experience of being in her body after all. I needed a framework and an excuse to trick me into trying out these new adventures.

I marvel at how much I have liked each one (minus the trapeze) and how I can see incorporating them into my “regular” life at different times in the coming months and years. I really believed that I would do each one of these things, check them off the list and never revisit them. I cannot believe that I want to keep learning and improving.

Lesson 4: That night was a reminder about not being a perfectionist in the early stages of learning something brand new. I am benefiting from being in a class with women who are more advanced than me because my teacher brings me along to learn what she's teaching them. She drew two half circles on the ice with a thick tip marker and wanted me to practice edges and turning while edging. I felt really awkward and not at all like I was going to get it. I heard inner monologue chatter away about how I wasn't getting it and how I should do it better and then I stopped and reminded myself that it wasn't reasonable to get this skill mastered after just a few minutes. My teacher can do it beautifully and make it look easy because she has done it for a long time. There was a time when her moves were not smooth and graceful and controlled.

She came along and watched me fumble through the edging drills. She smiled and said I was getting it. She moved me back to the big circle where I began to practice the crossovers for real. Again the first few times were wobbly and clunky and not at all pretty. But then things started clicking and again my moves smoothed out and I felt steadier on the ice.

I am adding ice skating to the list of physical activities that can become forms of moving meditation just as I found running and rock climbing.

Lesson 5: I was introduced to spins! With each class I'm getting closer to having the tools to look like I really know what I'm doing on the ice. I still haven't fallen, but I came closest to wiping out in lesson five. Spin practice lends one to feeling dizzy and less steady on one's blades.

Laurie arrived and took photos and one video of my practice. As with each class, when I'm first introduced to the new skill or drill I think, “I'm never going to get this down.” And then with steady practice, I begin to feel my body doing what it's supposed to in the sequence that it's supposed to. 

This class reminded me of tennis lessons. There are just so many things that have to be considered that I never knew before I stepped on the court or the rink. It's this realization that makes what the pros or at least the proficients do look so easy. And why when I've made any progress at all, I feel so accomplished.

I have a cold and it lingers and will not let go of me. I wanted so much to leave work and go to bed, but then I thought about skating and I didn't want to miss my class, so I persevered through the day. When I was on the ice, I mostly forgot about the cold except for my chapped lips caused by the congestion and mouth breathing.

It's so nice to have hobbies that for a little stretch of time helps you forget about real life. When I'm on the ice I am singularly focused. Do not fall. Improve my awkward moves into something that looks graceful.

I love how these activities continue to encourage a meditative practice. Moving meditations. The best thing for minds that will not quiet. That chatter away. On and on. 

My teacher reiterated that I'm doing advanced level work. I've moved through five levels and the spins fall under the category of freestyle level one.

Lessons 6 and 7: These last two classes have been the most challenging. I'm finally entering what feels like the “fancy moves,” but there's nothing fancy about my moves. The front crossover is still vexing to me. I have this curious little bad habit of digging my toe into the ice, which doesn't feel right, but so far I haven't been able to correct it. 

I'm going to have to up my yoga game to help me on the ice. There's a great need for a strong core for executing the moves I'm learning now. In lesson seven, we determined that I am an ambidextrous skater. This means that some moves are comfortable in one direction while other moves are more comfortable in the other direction. 

With the completion of lesson seven, I can officially cross this item off the 40/40 list. I have signed up for another eight-week session, so this should help me stay active during the cold, dark winter months and then I'll be ready to begin running regularly again.

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