Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Day 81

Sarvangasana

It was another hot and sweaty practice this morning - the high today will be 31. That's very warm for late September. Hard to believe that by this time next month, I'll be wearing my winter coat!

The first half of my practice went very smoothly, but just after Baddha Konasana I got really hungry. I finally caved in and went to the kitchen to grab a handful of trail mix, but I was still distracted for the rest of the practice. At least the hunger is an indication that my breakfast is digested before I hit the mat. Since I'm no longer getting up in the middle of the night to practice like I was in August (4:30 a.m. UG!), I have to eat first thing in the morning and take my morning dose of medication. I usually have a small bowl of bran cereal with rice milk, then drink tea on my morning walk. I was concerned that this might affect my practice, but so far it's been fine.

Meal management is going to get more complex in October when my full teaching schedule kicks in. When I'm teaching 4 yoga classes in a day, there's really no time that I can properly eat!

I have another asana milestone to report. I've always struggled with Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. I was a runner for over 16 years, so I have tight hamstrings. That, in combination with the balancing, always threw me for a loop. Over the past year, my hamstrings have really opened up and over the past few weeks, I've been successfully balancing in the pose (and the transition to the side). This morning, I added the slight forward bend, bringing my chin towards the shin for five breaths! (previously, I was just working on getting that leg straight)

This small change really transformed the feeling of the pose for me; when I brought my leg out to the side for five breaths I felt this tremendous sense of opening and brightness. It was really terrific! Now I'm a fan of the pose, where I never was before. It's fun to discover new favourites as your body opens up in different ways.

Another pose that always vexed me but I now enjoy is shoulderstand. I still have 'bad shoulderstand days' but on the good days, I feel a genuine sense of ease in this pose. I was very curious about my alignment but this isn't something you can check in a mirror very easily, so I decided to pull out the camera and photograph myself in the pose. I was pleasantly surprised by how straight and upright my body is! My feeling of ease and balance in the pose now makes sense, given that I'm no longer 'leaning'.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

Speaking of eating, would be nice if you wrote a post about what you cook for dinner. I am always interested in learning what other yogis eat.

bindifry said...

congratulations on uhp! such a great pose. my spine cracks up & down when i take the leg out to the side. feels SO good! it's cool you have taken your time with it as far as folding forward after practicing with a straight leg. so much is sacraficed if you rush that part.
and the shoulderstand looks great!
one of the things i love most about this practice is turning dreaded postures into faves!
cheers!

Kaivalya said...

Michelle: A 'food post' is a great idea. Look for it in the coming week!

Lisa: Thanks for the comments/compliments. :-) I'm glad to know that the shoulderstand looks good to your practised eye - I know you see a lot of them in your teaching. And, of course, we all know what a traditionalist you are, so it's a relief to hear that I'm getting it right *big wink*

On a more serious note, I absolutely agree with you about the straight leg in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana - in fact, I think this is important in all forward bends. The opening of the hamstrings can't be rushed and you lose the real spirit of the pose if you compromise with bent legs.

I think my experience with uhp confirmed for me that it's worth the wait to 'do it right' (in my case, the wait has been close to 12 years).

bindifry said...

12 years? wow! what did you used to do that tightened up those hammys? you have the patience of a saint & probably a killer teacher!

Kaivalya said...

My poor hamstrings never had chance! I started distance running when I was 13 and continued off and on until I was 33. I had the tightest hamstrings in my yoga teacher training!

I've had some good teachers, but my best one is named 'Patience'. ;-) I just kept practising.

I no longer run (though I'm very athletic and continue to bike and play ice hockey) and I'm still somewhat tight, but my body continues to open and I feel a surge of gratitude every time I come into Halasana (I'll probably be working on Hanumasana until I die!!! lol)