Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 170

Awake at 5, on the mat by 5:45, finished by 7:15. I like to finish up by 7 a.m. because that's when the construction starts next to my building. Fortunately, they started late today and they're not too noisy.

It's still bitterly cold out - the windchill was -21 when I last checked. So I didn't go ice skating (I have my limits and extreme cold is one of them). Usually, I pack up my laptop, a few snacks and spend the morning in a café, working on bookkeeping and my class plans for the week. Not today. I'm parked on my sofa. Wild horses couldn't move me from this apartment (though I was actually flirting with the idea of heading out to Lettieri later - it's only steps from the subway).

Practice was comfortable and easy-going. Lately, I've really enjoyed the sun salutations. When I'm laying in bed, pondering the momentous task of pulling myself out of bed for practice, it's the sun salutations that do it for me. Those 5 A's and 5 B's used to kill me, but these days, they feel like a light, comforting warm-up. I love them.

I've been thinking a lot about my 'suddenly-supta-kurmasana' moment this week and it may not be as spontaneous as it seemed. I rarely consider the effect that my teaching has on my practice because I don't do the classes with my students. Instead, I limit myself to 'launching' poses and doing the occasionally demo for new stuff. Last week, though, I was teaching a sequence that focused on the upper back and shoulders. There was a lot of new material in that class, so I was doing more demos than usual, including many shoulder openers. With 13 classes a week, that's a lot of shoulder openers!

This is actually an exciting thought! If I keep doing shoulder openers, perhaps I could deepen the pose still further!

Recently, I've added a new element to Parsvottanasana in my practice: the arms portion of Gomuhkasana. I liked this combo so much that I taught it in my classes last week, dubbing it 'The Bovine Pyramid'. My students loved it! (I think the name got a few laughs) I think that, in combination with a few other stretches that I demo'ed in my classes may have contributed to my bind in Supta K. Mystery solved!

Here are a few of the key stretches I included in my sequence last week. I'm interested to hear if anyone else finds these useful in their practice:

Marichyasana Arms: Bring the right arm onto the low back, palm outward. Reach back with the left hand and grab the wrist. Gently pull the right arm to the left until you feel the stretch in the right shoulder. Repeat on the other side.

Marichyasana Arms

Gomuhkasana Arms Reverse Elbow Grab: Being able to reach the arm up the back is a pre-req for this one. I use it to deepen my Gomuhkasana arms. Reach up your left hand up your back, then grab the left elbow with the right hand. I kind of lodge my left hand into the right shoulderblade to give myself some leverage and deepen the pose. Repeat on the other side.

Gomuhkasana Arms Elbow Grab

Bovine Pyramid: Come into Parsvottanasana, right leg forward, left leg back. Bring the right arm out to the right, thumb down and bring the arm up the back. Reach up with the left hand, bend the able to bring the left hand down to meet the right. If you can, bind, then come into the forward bend, pressing the left elbow towards the right foot. Repeat on the other side.

The Bovine Pyramid Pose

2 comments:

Cupcakes & Yoga said...

Mmmmm I love me some shoulder openers. :) It's funny you mention the construction noise. My yoga studio is next door to a fire station!!! You'd be surprised how much noise you can block out.

Kaivalya said...

Cupcakes: I wouldn't be surprised at all. It's amazing how much I tune out that construction much of the time, even sleeping through it occasionally! ;-)