Monday, January 14, 2008

Day 163

It's really difficult to get up in the wee hours when you know that you don't really need to. I ended up sleeping in until almost 7 this morning and didn't get on the mat until 7:30. Once I started, I had a fabulous, very breath-focused practice.
A bunch of things that are sometimes tenuous were very good. My hips were very open today and this is interesting because I spent two hours at a friend's apartment yesterday drinking coffee and chatting. I sat on the floor for a good part of the two hours, usually in Padmasana or the legs portion of Gomukhasana. I felt stiff as I was leaving, but apparently, it was good fo me. Need to do more of that!

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana was very solid and stable - so rare for me to have good balance in the morning! Even bringing my leg out to the side didn't cause me to tumble over. I have been experimenting with my Drishte in this pose and I find that if I shift my gaze to the side and find a gaze point *before* bringing my leg to the opposite side, I'm far more stable (then shift my gaze back to front before bringing the leg back to front). The other big change in this pose is that I'm actually keeping my leg up (without holding on to the toe) for the full five breaths to conclude the pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana D). My quads used to cramp up when I tried this for more than a breath, so I seem to be building some strength here.

I had another good Garba Pindasana. I was able to cup my chin for a few breaths before doing my sloppy, but enthusiastic rolls. I'm not worrying so much about where my hands are as I roll. My main goal has been to complete the circle in 9 rolls (rather than 12 or 15 get the idea). For the readers who are non-Ashtangis, here's the deal: This pose consists of coming into Padmasana (full lotus), putting the arms through the legs, and bringing the hands up to the head, then rolling back and forth in a circle on the mat 9 times. On the 9th time, you come up into Kukkutasana. I made it in 9 rolls today! My next goal is to get Kukkutasana on the first try.

Backbends continue to get better and better every day. I worked against the wall today. This gives me a better point of reference for straightening my arms and pressing through the armpits. The only drawback to using the wall is that I have to walk my feet in instead of walking my hands in and I prefer the latter. The fabulous thing about backbends in general is that I'm comfortable enough staying in a backbend that I can worry about all of these intricacies and I'm not whining about how miserable I am. Gotta count my blessings!

Here's a photo of my work this morning. Go, armpits, go!

Urdhva Dhanurasana against the wall

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